Ripken 'can't help but get excited' Lauds O's moves, Alomar at fund-raiser for museum

January 27, 1996|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

Cal Ripken, appearing at a fund-raiser for the Ripken Museum in Harford County last night, expressed excitement about playing with new Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar and "guarded optimism" about the 1996 season.

"As a Baltimore fan, as a player, you can't help but get excited," Ripken said of the moves made by new Orioles general manager Pat Gillick. "All of baseball seems to be talking about the Orioles."

But as the only player left from the 1983 World Series, Ripken has seen the ups and downs of the rebuilding process. He is not about to get too excited.

"The caliber of talent's there," he said. "It certainly looks as good as it's looked for a long time on paper. I personally try to guard my optimism as much as I can because the first phase is to put a good team together. The second phase is to earn it on the field."

As for playing with Alomar, Ripken is like a scientist who can't wait to work with his new lab partner.

Ripken has played alongside Alomar at several All-Star games, where they have had the chance to compare notes and talk strategy. Ripken says they think about fielding much the same way.

"It's fascinating to me that our thought processes are pretty similar," he said. "When a National League hitter came up, I would say, 'What about this guy?' "

Now Ripken and Alomar can collaborate on a full-time basis -- something Ripken clearly relishes.

"I am looking forward to it," last night's guest of honor said as he was being pulled back into the Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood. "The rest you'll have to get in spring training."

Ripken arrived at the $100-a-plate, black-tie fund-raiser about 2 1/2 hours after the other guests arrived.

But he made up for his tardiness once he got there. He was moved by a video tribute by four of his high school teammates and clearly enjoyed clowning around with them afterward.

"Sometimes we forget when you get the attention from the media where you came from," Ripken said. "Aberdeen will always hold fond memories of growing up."

Most of Ripken's family -- Cal Sr., Vi, Ellen, Billy and Fred -- was on hand. After all it was Ripken who demanded that it be called the Ripken Museum and not Cal Ripken Museum.

The museum, located in the former Aberdeen City Hall, is scheduled to open in late March. Ripken says it is a tribute to his family and to his hometown.

"For a small town like Aberdeen, I guess it brings attention to our small town," he said.

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