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Twenty years ago: Ripken's memorable night


Twenty years ago: Ripken's memorable night

BALTIMORE – Cal Ripken was about 20 minutes away from the first pitch to commemorate the 20th anniversary of breaking the consecutive games streak. But first, he had a confession to make.

The “Iron Man” fell off his bicycle Tuesday afternoon and hurt his right shoulder.

“I don’t know whether I’ll be able to throw out the first pitch,” Ripken said with a chuckle. “I’d like to think [Orioles trainer] Richie Bancells could fix me and I would have played no matter what.”

Ripken warned a press conference full of reporters that he might have to walk halfway to the mound and lightly toss the first pitch.

With his friend and teammate, Orioles vice president of baseball operations, Brady Anderson catching the pitch, Ripken accepted the cheers of the crowd and waved.

Reminders of Sept. 6, 1995 were everywhere. The “2131” banner was back on the warehouse wall as it was two decades ago.

And, Ripken spent the time awaiting his press conference in a VIP room watching a tape of the events and he admitted to getting emotional when watching his late father, Cal, Sr., who died in March 1999.

“In some ways, it feels like was yesterday,” Ripken remembers. “It’s hard to believe that it was 20 years.”

Most people remember Ripken’s lap around the field. Other than Bobby Bonilla and Rafael Palmeiro conspiring to push Ripken out to acknowledge the fans, he said nothing was plan.

“I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know how to do it. I was trying to do what I thought was right and say ‘thank you,’ as best I could,” Ripken said. “It really made the celebration a much more personal, one-on-one intimate celebration, where I started identifying people’s faces and people’s names.”
J.J. Hardy was a 13-year-old in Arizona watching.

“"I know that I still have the Tucson newspaper from when it happened,” Hardy said. "It's with all my baseball cards. So even back then, I knew it was a big deal. It's pretty cool to see this tonight. I can't believe it was 20 years ago."

At 10, Adam Jones saw the game from San Diego.

“The mental part of it is the remarkable part. There’s days when you do need a break,” Jones said. “For him to do what he did is nothing short of amazing. That’s a record that 100 percent will never be broken.”

There was a time when Jones would joke about breaking Ripken’s record, but after 322 consecutive games, Buck Showalter ended that streak in Sept. 2013.

“Cal’s streak, that could never be touched in today’s game,” Jones said.

Manny Machado, who’s playing in his 132nd straight game is the active leader in consecutive games played.

Showalter was managing the New York Yankees, trying to figure out a way into the newly expanded playoffs.

“I heard some of the grumblings about he was hurting the team by playing every day. Spare me. Go ask his teammates and the other team. Some guys at 80 percent are better than some guys at 100 percent. I know Adam gives me that a lot of times when I ask him how he's doing,” Showalter said.

"I played 140-150 games in a season. I don't know how anybody does it. It takes so much discipline, and it's still something that I still think kind of lives on here with a guy like Adam and a guy like Manny. They talk about it."

Ron Darling, who works with Ripken as an “MLB on TBS” analyst, knew he was a tough competitor.

MORE ORIOLES Cal Ripken, Jr. recounts his record-breaking night

“Every player that played against Cal wanted to be Cal.  He was the best at what he did, but with a grace and humility that you don't find in many.  Cal saved Major League Baseball when the sport needed him most, by letting every fan know that he was their superstar,  just by doing what most people have to do – going to work every day,” Darling said.

The Oriole Park stands on Tuesday were full of people who were at that memorable game and some who were too young to remember it. Ripken enjoyed recounting the lap. The Orioles were out of contention, and halfway through the game against the California Angels, Ripken took his time making his way around the field.

“It didn’t matter to me whether the game started again or not. I was just enjoying that sort of moment,” Ripken said.

He stopped to visit with the Angels on his way home.

When do you get a chance to talk to the other team really when you’re playing a game against them?” Ripken asks.

“It was probably the best human moment I had on the field.”

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm