Orioles managing partner Peter G. Angelos said he didn't turn down Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.'s offer to join the club's front office and, in fact, no such request occurred, he said.
However, if Ripken wanted to return to the organization and accept a position under president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, Angelos said he certainly would listen.
"Cal could make a contribution to any ballclub. I just don't see Cal Ripken as being an assistant to anyone in a baseball context," Angelos told The Baltimore Sun on Saturday. "If he expressed the wish to do that in some secondary position with the Orioles, which I think he'd never do, obviously that would be something that will be considered seriously. But Cal has many interests and is a very busy guy. I don't think he's ever considered himself available to play some secondary role with the ballclub and appropriately so."
Angelos' comments were in response to a story on Fox Sports' website Friday night that cited multiple unnamed sources as saying Ripken had met with MacPhail and discussed joining the club in an unspecified "baseball capacity" but that Angelos shot down the possibility.
The report, which Angelos referred to as "inaccurate and grossly incorrect," quoted three sources as saying Angelos told Ripken that he didn't want to hire the former homegrown star because he didn't want him "to receive credit once the team returned to prominence."
The owner sternly rebutted that notion Saturday, saying: "Of course, there's no truth to it. Even if I believed that or felt that, I would never have said that to him."
Ripken, who is traveling with his family, was unavailable for comment. The Orioles, through communications director Greg Bader, deferred further comments to Angelos.
MacPhail would not discuss the situation except to say it was much ado about nothing.
"We have wasted enough ink on the subject already — period," MacPhail said.
Angelos, 80, and Ripken, 49, have maintained a relatively close relationship after Ripken retired from the Orioles in 2001. They occasionally meet for meals and have worked together on projects and charities in the past. One of the three minor league teams owned by Ripken Baseball is the Orioles' Short-A affiliate Aberdeen IronBirds, who play in Ripken's hometown.
In October, Angelos said the two met to discuss a potential partnership between Ripken Baseball and the Orioles' minor-league facility in Sarasota, Fla., which could include a Ripken youth academy on land adjacent to Twin Lakes Park. There also were previous discussions about Ripken Baseball handling ballpark concessions at Ed Smith Stadium, the club's spring training complex in Sarasota, the way it has at other venues, but that didn't come to fruition.
"I don't know of any differences that exist between Cal Ripken and me," Angelos said. "If there are any, I'd like to know them from Cal Ripken directly. He was a great player with the Orioles and a friend for many years since he retired. He and I have a lot of contact with each other. We have an excellent relationship in many ways."
Ripken and MacPhail met in January and discussed various baseball subjects, but Angelos said to his knowledge no job was ever offered. It is not his intention, Angelos said, to diminish the role of MacPhail, who was hired in June 2007.
"Andy MacPhail is in charge of baseball operations for the club," Angelos said. "There has never been any interest in my part or discussions where his authority in running the baseball operations would be shared with anyone."
According to one Fox Sports source, Angelos was reluctant to create the perception that MacPhail wasn't fully in charge. In addition, the report stated that Ripken was not seeking significant responsibilities but simply wanted to be part of the operation and help out his struggling former club, which hasn't finished above .500 since 1997.
"What the story said is Cal proposed that to Andy, and I find that to be unbelievable, that Cal would somehow take a secondary or minor role in operation of the Orioles or any other ballclub," Angelos said. "He certainly has the stature or the background where he could ask for or seek to be the top of the operations of any major league club."