His teammates want this record for Cal Ripken, particularly those who've played alongside him for years and watched The Streak in progress -- Brady Anderson, Chris Hoiles, Mike Mussina.
Ripken is scheduled to break Lou Gehrig's consecutive-games record of 2,130 at the end of the homestand that begins today. Some around him hope Ripken can assume some semblance of normalcy in his life after he achieves the record.
Beyond the good wishes for Ripken, there is also the desire to participate in something that may never happen again, to see something firsthand that will be talked about for years to come. This will be a major event for them, as well as for Ripken.
"I know he just wants to get this over with," said Orioles reliever Jesse Orosco. "It's been 13 or 14 years of this now. It's getting more exciting every day, and I think everybody is looking forward to getting to that day."
Orioles manager Phil Regan said: "There's going to be a lot of excitement on this homestand. . . . It's going to be an exciting event.
"I think it's good he'll get it behind him. He can relax a little bit, from all the press conferences. I think he's done a great job at handling it, but I'm sure it can get a little tiresome for him."
Once the record is decided, Hoiles said, "He won't have to worry about the pressure of dealing [with the attention] as much. I'm sure he's going to have some post-streak questions asked of him, but maybe not to the severity that happens now. He's always got appointments . . . that take up a lot of his time.
"It's going to be nice to see him come in the clubhouse and not be running around like a chicken with his head cut off."
Third base coach Steve Boros said: "It's amazing to see how well he's handled it."
Many of his teammates have expressed their desire to play against the California Angels Sept. 6, to see their name on the box score, the same reason why some of the Kansas City Royals were hoping Hurricane Felix would drench Camden Yards two weeks ago and force a one-day postponement of the potential record-breaking game. "You want to be part of history," said Royals shortstop David Howard.
In early July, Mussina counted out the days leading up to the record-breaker and discovered, happily, that if the Orioles stayed on a pattern of four days' rest between starts, he would be the one to pitch the record-breaker. Over the weekend, Regan acknowledged that Mussina is tentatively scheduled to throw the night of Sept. 6.
Several other Orioles are certain to play, barring injury. Anderson and Hoiles, Rafael Palmeiro and Bobby Bonilla. But the others must depend on circumstance and fate, like third baseman Jeff Manto. He's been platooning against left-handers, and the Orioles' opponent that night, the Angels, have four lefties in their rotation. But unless the Angels' alignment is changed, right-hander Mike Harkey would pitch Sept. 6, and whether Manto is in the lineup may be decided by whether Jeff Huson is still playing well at second.
Factors to think about. And they are thinking about it.
"Absolutely, I want to be out there," said Manto. "Every [position] player wants to be out there, every pitcher wants to throw. Having the opportunity to play next to him that day, that would be something else."
Hoiles said: "I would definitely like to be part of it. Definitely, I want to be in there. I think it would be a very special time for me, just being a teammate."
Reliever Terry Clark overheard Mussina talking about his probable start the day of the record-breaker, and the following ensued:
Clark: "You're pitching that game?"
Clark: "How about seven innings? I'd like to get in."
Mussina: "I think we ought to let each guy throw one inning."
Clark: "If I pitch, I would take the ball with me."
Mussina: "The box score will be the full front page of the paper. I'm hoping they have a ball that every player involved in the game signs."
Jim Dedrick began the year with Double-A Bowie, and after he was promoted to Rochester early in the season, his brother-in-law told him repeatedly that he would be in Baltimore when Ripken broke the record.
"He must've said that 20 times," said Dedrick, promoted in August. "It seems like I've been thinking about that for a long time, how great it would be to be there when it happens."
One of the Dedrick's coaches in college was Don Dahlgren, the son of Babe Dahlgren -- the man who replaced Lou Gehrig at the conclusion of the Iron Horse's streak of 2,130 games. Dedrick remembers Dahlgren's repeating his father's stories about Gehrig, and Dedrick can tell his children and friends about Gehrig and Ripken.
"Weird, isn't it?" he said.
Several Orioles acknowledged the record-breaker will be emotional for them. Mussina isn't married and doesn't have any children, and he's already projecting the importance of this event in his life.
"When I'm older and I run down the greatest things that ever happened to me," Mussina said, "I'll say, getting married, having children, and playing the day Cal broke the record."
Nine more games to go.
Tickets remaining for the Orioles' homestand:
Sept. 5 Sold out
Sept. 6 Sold out
Opponent: Oakland Athletics
Site: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Time: 7:35 p.m.
TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Athletics' Steve Ontiveros (8-5, 3.99) vs. Orioles' Rick Krivda (2-2, 3.64)
Tickets: 6,000 remain