- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 20, 2001

BALTIMORE Cal Ripken's decision to retire at the end of this season was predicated on the third baseman's desire to spend more time with his family and his other baseball pursuits in the future.
Exactly what that future holds will have to be seen.
For the next three months, Ripken will play out his 21st and final season with the Baltimore Orioles. He likely will earn his 19th straight All-Star selection, making one last appearance at the Midsummer Classic next month in Seattle.
"The All-Star Game is a special game, something you wish everyone could experience," said Ripken, who led Anaheim's Troy Glaus by 8,000 votes as of Monday but figures to increase his lead with yesterday's announcement. "This being my last year, it would be pretty special."
His last three months as a major leaguer will be marked by his final trip to 12 different ballparks, plus 44 more games at Camden Yards, beginning tonight. But once he steps off the field at Yankee Stadium in the Orioles' season finale Sept. 30, Ripken's life as a baseball player will end.
The key word, though, is player.
"I don't know that I'll ever divorce myself from the game of baseball," he said. "Baseball's in my blood. I don't see this as an ending so much as a beginning. I'm not stopping something, I'm just moving on… . Realistically, the next stage of my life might be longer than this first stage."
Ripken intends to devote much of his time to his youth baseball program in his hometown of Aberdeen, Md., which includes a new state-of-the-art facility.
"The short-term plans I have are to really dive into the youth initiatives and write instruction plans and sit in on design meetings," he said. "And to be home and be flexible in my schedule where I can go to all my family activities."
Ripken has expressed interest in running a baseball franchise, perhaps taking a cue from retired basketball star and Washington Wizards executive Michael Jordan. Whether he would follow Jordan's lead in associating himself with a new franchise is a question Ripken himself cannot yet answer.
"The Orioles have been my whole life," he said. "I've always seen things through the eyes of a player. I have some immediate plans, but I'd like to sit back, analyze and evaluate what the next part of my life will be.
"There's a lot for me to do, and there's a lot for me to throw myself into. Where the best use of my time and the greatest chance to have the biggest impact, I'm going to stay away from that for the next few months and then I'm going to figure it out after that."
The next five years of Ripken's life may be unscripted, but there is one future event certain to happen: Make your reservations now for Cooperstown, N.Y., in August 2007.
It's safe to assume Cal Ripken will be there.

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