KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Cal Ripken consecutive-games streak turns 1,500 tonight, and the accomplishment will not go unacknowledged when the Baltimore Orioles open a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Memorial Stadium.
The Orioles will honor Ripken in pre-game ceremonies for both the streak and his MVP performance in last week's All-Star Game.
Ripken is the second player in major-league history to play in 1,500 consecutive games. Of course, he'll also be only the second to play in 1,501 consecutive games, and so on until he challenges Lou Gehrig's all-time record [2,130]. But 1,500 is a nice round number, and tonight seems to be the perfect time to recognize his many accomplishments this year.
"I try not to make too much of it [the streak] myself, because I have to deal with it on a daily basis," Ripken said. "I'm sure that when I sit back someday, it will have a certain meaning. When you're in the middle of it, you don't have time to sit back and reflect."
He also will be presented with the MVP trophy he earned for leading the American League to a 4-2 victory in the 62nd All-Star Game, which was played at Toronto's SkyDome on July 9. Cal and his wife, Kelly, also will be presented with a Chevrolet mini-van, which they will present to the Baltimore Reads Foundation.
"That was a great experience," said Ripken, who also won the home run derby in stunning fashion during the All-Star workout. "The two days were unbelieveable. If I had sat down and written a script, I couldn't have made it happen any more perfectly."
The Orioles also will honor the four pitchers who participated in Saturday's no-hitter. Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson will take part in pre-game ceremonies tomorrow night.
First baseman/outfielder David Segui was available for limited duty last night, just two days after he suffered a sprained ankle during a game against the California Angels.
"He'll at least be able to hit," manager John Oates said. "Maybe more."
Second baseman Tim Hulett dropped to the ground during pre-game workouts after apparently suffering a severe back strain. He left the field for treatment and will undergo X-rays today.
Sam's bad night
Designated hitter Sam Horn was not happy to have added his name to the record book on Wednesday night, but there was nothing he could do about it.
"It was just a ---- night all around," he said.
Horn was reprimanded by Oates after he stood at home plate and watched a long fly ball in the 15th inning. The ball did not clear the fence and Horn had to hoof it to get to second base safely.
"He just said, 'That's why you have to run those out,' " Horn explained. "I went in to talk to him again today. He said as long as I learned something from it, it was all right."
Outfielder Joe Orsulak suffered a large turf burn on his right forearm making a diving play in Wednesday night's game. He was not in the starting lineup last night against Bret Saberhagen, but that might also have had something to do with his .192 batting average against the Royals right-hander.
Newcomer Shane Turner became the ninth player to make his Orioles debut this year when he pinch ran in Wednesday night's game. . . . Ripken entered last night's game with a .450 average [27-for-60] on artificial turf this year. His lifetime average on turf is .311. . . . The Orioles are 5-14 in 1-run games since Oates took over as manager. . . The 4-run first inning Wednesday night was the biggest first inning of the year of the Orioles. . . . Exciting trip dept.: The 8-game AL West swing featured a no-hitter and 4 games that were decided in the eighth inning or later.