His projected role for the Orioles: Shortstop. Everyday.
Where he has been this off-season: Ripken, who figured the demand on him for public appearances increased "20-fold or 30-fold" this off-season, took on some of those kinds of obligations. He also served as a technical adviser for a movie. In the final weeks of winter, he spent most of his time at home in Reisterstown, working out and playing basketball.
Number crunching: Ripken begins the season with his consecutive-games streak at 2,153. He's approaching the world record of 2,215, set by Sachio Kinugasa in Japan's Central League.
Another AL team he thinks improved itself this off-season: "Cleveland. They made only a few moves, and it seemed like they got better. It didn't seem like they could improve on what they had, but they did [getting Julio Franco and Jack McDowell]."
An Oriole to watch: "The obvious choice to me is Robbie [Alomar]. We've been enjoying watching him play for Toronto all these years, and now we're going to get a chance to see him in an Orioles uniform."
His expectations for this season: "Enjoy the game and contribute as much as I can to a winning season."
His sleeper pick for the NBA playoffs (Ripken is an avid NBA fan; Friday night, he attended the Miami Heat's upset of the Chicago Bulls): "The Los Angeles Lakers, because of the intangibles that Magic Johnson brings to the team -- his leadership, his ability to make good decisions at the end of games."