- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2000

PHILADELPHIA Another Cal Ripken streak is over.
Ripken's run of representing the American League in All-Star Games ended yesterday at 17 when he scratched himself from the midsummer classic with lower back inflammation. However, shortstop Mike Bordick will carry the Orioles' flag instead.
Being a good guy finally paid off for Bordick. Having a great year didn't hurt, either.
Bordick was named to the American League All-Star team late Saturday night by New York Yankees manager Joe Torre as a replacement for injured Seattle Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez.
Ripken's roster spot was taken by Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Tony Batista. It remains unclear if Ripken, who was voted to start at third base by a fans ballot, will even attend any of the All-Star festivities this week in Atlanta.
The Orioles haven't had much to cheer about this season, but Bordick's inclusion to the AL All-Star team is a bright moment.
"Cal has been such a mainstay on the All-Star team, it's really too bad," Bordick said. "The goals that are set aren't for All-Star type goals, but it's more for being able to help your team win and have the success to make it to the playoffs and ultimately the World Series. I think that's what everybody works hard for. It's very exciting and an incredible feeling, but it certainly isn't the ultimate goal."
This is Bordick's first All-Star appearance in a consistent 11-year career. Bordick, 33, has already surpassed his career high for home runs in a season when he belted his 14th last Tuesday against the Yankees. To mark the occasion of his selection, Bordick went 3-for-4 yesterday with three singles and one RBI.
Coming into yesterday's game, Bordick was batting .298 with 98 hits in 329 at-bats. In April, Bordick shattered the team record for RBI in a month with 29, previously held by Orioles great Frank Robinson with 24 in 1969. Albert Belle then broke Bordick's record with 37 RBI in June.
"I've always said from day one, good players get better, and that's what Mike has done," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "As he's gone along, he's learned more about hitting, understands hitting better, understands how he hits better and he certainly deserves this honor."
No one has ever questioned Bordick's fielding. Last year, the Orioles thought Bordick should have been awarded a Gold Glove when he led AL shortstops with a .989 fielding percentage (only nine errors) and led the league with 797 total chances.
Bordick found out about his All-Star inclusion Saturday night while riding on the team bus to the hotel after the Orioles' embarrassing 13-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Kevin Behan, of the Orioles' public relations department, handed Bordick his cell phone when Phyllis Merhige, spokeswoman of the league's office, called to tell Bordick of Torre's decision.
Bordick, who is a class act in a surly clubhouse, was riding in the back of the bus when the call came in. Only those Orioles in the back of the bus knew of Bordick's accomplishment. Until Torre's call came in, Bordick was planning on returning to Maine to spend a few days with his family.
"I was kind of in shock because the All-Star team was picked," Bordick said. "I was actually looking forward to seeing my kids and having a little break, but this is pretty exciting."
Meanwhile, the word on Ripken is that his back has shown marked improvement the last two or three days. On Friday, Ripken underwent a series of diagnostic tests at Johns Hopkins. The Orioles are still waiting for the results.
Hargrove said he has spoken with Ripken and the Orioles' future Hall of Famer doesn't want to jeopardize his healing process by doing something premature, like playing in the All-Star Game. Hargrove said he doubted Ripken would go to Atlanta.
Ripken was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 28. Hargrove said there is no timetable on Ripken's return and said his status is now day-to-day.
"I think Cal has made a smart decision in this," Hargrove said. "I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision to make."

Clark swipes Phanatic's ride

Before yesterday's game, the Philly Phanatic, the Phillies' green, bugle-nosed mascot, thought he parked his personal ATV in a safe area behind home plate.
The Phanatic got off his all-terrain vehicle and went into a dopey dance which included insulting gestures specifically aimed at the Orioles dugout. Orioles first baseman Will Clark wasn't impressed by the Phanatic's routine.
When the Phanatic's back was turned, Clark ran out of the dugout and jumped on the Phanatic's machine. With the throttle wide open, Clark screamed the Phanatic's four-wheeler through the infield all the way to the warning track in straight-away center field, where he dropped off the Phanatic's ride.
On Clark's way back to the Orioles dugout, the Phanatic accosted Clark and put him in a headlock for stealing his prized possession to the howling delight of the South Philly faithful.

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