Ripken `blown away' by memorable honor

2,131st consecutive game selected as top moment

World Series notebook

Baseball

October 24, 2002|By Joe Christensen and Peter Schmuck | Joe Christensen and Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO -- After learning his 2,131st consecutive game had been voted as Major League Baseball's most memorable moment last night, Cal Ripken said, "It blows me away."

Ripken was at Pacific Bell Park for the ceremony before Game 4 of the World Series, and the fans greeted him warmly. The reception wasn't nearly as loud, however, as the cheers for Pete Rose, whose 4,192nd hit was voted as baseball's sixth-most memorable moment.

Hank Aaron's 715th career home run, the one that broke Babe Ruth's record, was voted as the second-most memorable moment. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier finished third.

Ripken's moment received 282,821 votes, Aaron's moment 275,451 votes and Robinson's 251,564 votes.

"Cal Ripken has honored the game of baseball," Orioles owner Peter Angelos said in a statement. "By this vote, baseball now justly honors him as well."

Said Ripken: "I know it's a popular vote. And I know it's more of a modern vote. A lot of people that were voting probably had a smaller window for their own history. But I think it's cool the way that baseball is celebrated that way. And to come back being the most popular, that just blows me away."

Ripken was born in 1960, and he said his first big memory was watching the Orioles win the 1966 World Series. He has vivid memories of watching Aaron's record breaker.

"It was like time just stopped," Ripken said. "For my generation, that's what I kind of remember."

Ripken said his 2,131st game, "seems like it was just yesterday."

"The way it unfolded," he said, "the way it became, in my mind, a celebration for baseball, the timing -- coming off a work stoppage and labor issues -- it seems like everyone was hungry to kind of hold onto something about baseball."

Eyes on the future

The possibility of Ripken moving to the front office has become a hot topic of late, especially with the future of Orioles vice president of baseball operations Syd Thrift still uncertain. Asked about it again yesterday, Ripken said his feelings haven't changed.

"It's really funny because I think I've been saying the same exact thing since the first day I retired," Ripken said. "The question came up all the time -- would you come back to the big leagues? -- and at the time, I said a coach or manager's job is a job that fascinates me, it's interesting, but it's twice the amount of time and you go through the same schedule [as a player].

"I said if I had an opportunity to shape an organization, I'd certainly be interested. And it's kind of interesting lately, it's rung a little more true, and I've started to get more specific questions."

Nen sore?

San Francisco Giants reliever Robb Nen reportedly had trouble getting loose in the bullpen during Game 2 on Sunday night, leading to speculation that he has a sore shoulder, but manager Dusty Baker said before last night's game that his availability was not in question.

"I don't know how that report got started or whatever, but this is a time of year when everybody has something," Baker said. "I think he has 68 or 70 appearances. It's not bothering him. We just have to give him more time to get loose."

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Ortiz has wrist injury

The Anaheim Angels' Ramon Ortiz, the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the World Series, has tendinitis in his right wrist.

Angels spokesman Larry Babcock said that Ortiz was examined Tuesday night by team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum following the 10-4 victory over the Giants. Ortiz will have precautionary X-rays.

Neither Babcock nor pitching coach Bud Black knew the cause of the injury or when it occurred.

"We'll just watch his condition daily and go from there," Black said.

Low ratings

The Fox network's television ratings for the first three games of the World Series fell 22 percent from last year, making it a candidate to become the lowest-rated series ever.

Fox's telecasts of the Angels-Giants series were watched by an average of 10.8 percent of the 106.7 million U.S. homes with televisions, according to Nielsen Media Research Inc.

This year's average rating is down from the 13.8 for the first three games a year ago, when the Yankees played the Diamondbacks. In 2000, when the New York Yankees played the New York Mets in the lowest-rated series ever, the first three games attracted 12.1 percent of viewers.

A rating measures the percentage of all television households watching a particular program.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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