Berman recalls night he was left silent He did not talk during Ripken's lap around park

September 21, 1998|By Milton Kent

Just like a lot of Baltimoreans, ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman will probably stand in line at some area newsstand today, trying to get a piece of history.

"I just want to get the paper. It will complete my collection," said Berman last night from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. "He's one guy that threw a surprise party for 45,000 people as opposed to a surprise party for one guy."

Berman, who hosts ABC's "Monday Night Blast" pre-game show, called Ripken's last appointment with history, the Sept. 6, 1995 game during which the Orioles third baseman, then shortstop, passed Lou Gehrig on the all-time consecutive games played list.

"I applaud him for his accomplishment, and for doing this absolutely the right way," said Berman. "It clears him to be a great player for the next year and to make one more push for the postseason. I just love everything about this. It was just a surprise."

On that 1995 night, Berman kept silent through the entire 22 minutes that Ripken circled Oriole Park to greet fans. That telecast won an Emmy and Berman received wide acclaim essentially for saying nothing.

"I love that. It was the biggest moment of my career," said Berman. "We [announcers] get paid to speak and we get praised for saying nothing. There's a message there. I did say 'Back, back, back' when he hit the home run."

Pub Date: 9/21/98

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