Meeting a Legend

Fourteen years ago today, Cal Ripken, Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive baseball game, breaking Lou Gehrig’s long-standing record. I remember that day like it was yesterday, and I was proud to call myself a Baltimoran.

Since it’s the anniversary of the record being broken, I thought I’d share my experience meeting Cal Ripken, Jr. In 2001, the Orioles came to Atlanta to play the Braves during Ripken’s farewell tour. I was working for a small daily newspaper outside of Atlanta, and I was determined to go. I found a way to write a story for our sports section out of it, got it approved by my editor, secured press passes for me and my photographer, and we were on our way.

We arrived several hours before gametime for Ripken’s press conference, and we joined the throngs of reporters and photographers in the visiting team’s dugout. I squeezed my way up in the front row, sitting right in front of the man who had been my favorite baseball player and one of my heroes since childhood. It was awesome.

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After the press conference, I had a brief moment to try to meet him. I introduced myself to his press secretary, and told him I’m a native of Baltimore and grew up watching the Orioles play at Camden Yards. He said that Ripken would love to meet me, and took me over to introduce me. Ripken and I talked for several minutes, and my photographer snapped pictures the entire time. I gave him a copy of a column I had written about him for our sports section, and he told me he would read it while he ate his pre-game pizza. Cool!

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He spent quite a while before the game signing autographs for fans, which I thought was awesome. He was always a player to stand out on the field and sign autographs while the other players relaxed in the clubhouses before games, which is one reason I really respect him.

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Our press passes gave us field and press room access, so I spent time going back and forth, spending some time in the press room but hanging out on the field for the majority of the game. The dugouts have a separate section attached to them where photographers can stand, and that’s where I sat in the visiting team’s dugout. In fact, Ripken was sitting just a few feet away from me for most of the game, which was awesome.

That was definitely a day I will never, ever forget, and I have a binder full of pictures to show for it. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually get them scanned in. 🙂

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Hi! I’m a wife to a wonderful husband, mom to a beautiful and active (to put it lightly) kiddo, and fur-mom to 3 crazy cats. I’m a former journalist. I quit my full time job two years ago. Now, I am a freelance writer and a virtual assistant for several bloggers!

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  1. Joe says:

    Weird… I was at this game. Tim and I were in the upper deck right over home plate!

    Ripken hit two home runs and we all went crazy and we were not Orioles fans!

  2. Lisa says:

    You know I am an Orioles fan true and true. I love Cal Ripken and not just because I find him Dreamy….but because I love the dedication he has and the all around goodness of him! You are a lucky girl to have those pictures of meeting him.

  3. spygrrl says:

    What a wonderful story! I thinky we will soon see the newest member of your family at a game with his jersey on.

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