Cal Ripken watches the Orioles closely. Not only is he an avid observer because of a lifetime connection with the team, he watches them for his job as an analyst for TBS telecasts.
In a conference call on Tuesday promoting the network’s start of coverage this weekend, Ripken said the Orioles seem to be in good shape.
“They were hit with the injury bug, but somehow always find a player to contribute and get them where they need to be. You know how good Buck Showalter is as a manager, aligning different talents. You know how good he is at using a bullpen,” Ripken said.
Ripken was named to the American League All-Star team every season from 1983-2001. He had 18 different Orioles join him as All-Stars, but only twice in his career was he joined by as many as three other Orioles.
In 1997, Ripken had Roberto Alomar, Brady Anderson, Jimmy Key, Mike Mussina and Randy Myers, and two years later had Mussina, Harold Baines and B.J. Surhoff.
On Monday, Adam Jones and Manny Machado were joined by the first pair of relief pitchers to be selected from the Orioles, Zach Britton and Darren O’Day.
“I think when you look at O’Day and Britton going in as All-Stars, it’s really indicative of how great they’ve been at the back end of the bullpen. Their numbers have been extraordinary,” Ripken said.
Ripken is optimistic about the Orioles' season.
“I think they’re going to be competitive and good. They’re definitely in good position now that they’ve weathered some of the injuries. They’ve got [Matt] Wieters back, and Jonathan Schoop is a big part of that team, and he’s back in the lineup. I think they’re positioned pretty well. I’m not surprised they got four guys on the All-Star team. They’ve got a good ballclub,” Ripken said.