Ovation moves Ripken, but PA gets a move on ALL-STAR GAME July 13 1993 Baltimore

July 14, 1993|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

If there was any doubt about how Baltimore regarded native son Cal Ripken, it was dispelled in one mighty rush of warm air last night.

When 48,000 souls loosened their vocal chords in pre-game introductions for the Orioles shortstop in the simmering humidity of the 64th All-Star Game, there was no doubt.

The love affair was never stronger.

"The ovation was beyond what anyone could comprehend," an appreciative and humble Ripken said afterward.

"I've had a lot of good things happen in my career. But this has to be No. 1."

In the time it took Baltimore's fans to tell Ripken how much they cared, the whole pecking order of his career changed. Brush those MVP trophies to the side, and the world championship moment, too.

Only the insistence of PA announcer Chuck Thompson to keep introductions rolling could quiet what was arguably the loudest, longest ovation of Camden Yards' brief history. Mike Mussina, Ripken's teammate, wondered why Thompson was in such a rush.

"Chuck interrupted them when they were cheering for Cal," said Mussina, who did not play but got one of the biggest ovations of the night as well.

"They've been waiting for 10 years for that. Cal earned it. The fans wanted to give it to him. Chuck is going in the Hall of Fame, so I guess he has the right. But the fans wanted to do it."

Ripken's cool exterior started to melt in the glow of the moment. He said he's never been that emotional on a baseball field. Ever.

"I haven't had the best first half," he said, "and I'm humbly thankful I'm here at all. To have the fans react like that, yeah, it was real special."

So special that Ripken succumbed to the trap of trying to reward the fans. The guy who keeps everything under wraps wasn't quite able to handle this one.

"I was very jumpy, antsy at the plate," he said. "I wanted to do well. I've been to a lot of All-Star Games. Sometimes you just want to survive.

"Today I genuinely wanted to do well. I was disappointed I couldn't control my emotions and get a couple of hits."

Ripken went 0-for-3 at the plate, grounding out twice, striking out the other time. He handled three chances in the field without flaw.

Ripken was long gone from the game by the time Mussina got his ovation. Once the right-handed pitcher realized he wouldn't get in, he warmed up in the bullpen on his own at the start of the ninth.

The crowd immediately went from booing Toronto Blue Jays reliever Duane Ward to chanting, "We want Mike."

Mussina was red-faced by the attention.

"I was a little embarrassed because I became of focus of attention in the bullpen and I wasn't even in the game," he said.

"At least I wasn't getting what the Blue Jays were getting. Those guys deserved to be here, too. They got booed like it was the North against the South."

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