Friday, May 14, 2004

Baltimore Orioles legend and future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken received a full-scale comedic sendup last night, the centerpiece of a charity event held in his honor at the District’s Grand Hyatt hotel.

Never before formally roasted, the straight-laced Ripken received the brunt of jokes in a benefit in the District for the National Capital Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, as well as the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.

“What did Cal do in his last at-bat? He flied out. He didn’t do [anything],” said Cal’s brother Bill. “Wow. Big deal. Who cares? I sure didn’t. It’s probably the most celebrated out in the history of baseball.”

Besides Bill Ripken, Cal’s roasters included former Congressman and NFL Hall of Famer Steve Largent, Washington Times columnist Thom Loverro and author Jane Leavy.

Other jokes centered on Ripken’s noted lack of base stealing prowess, his major league record for hitting into double plays and his well-known baldness.

“The number 2,632 isn’t just the number of consecutive games he played but the number of hairs he lost during the streak,” Largent said.

President Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers, also provided a taped message of tribute to Ripken.

“Yeah, how about that bit from the President?” joked Bill Ripken, whose roast of Cal was laced with self-deprecating humor over his own checkered baseball career. “I actually played for the Texas Rangers, and he didn’t say [anything] about me.”

Ripken, meanwhile, continues to be in contact with the Washington Baseball Club, the prospective ownership group chaired by financier Fred Malek. Ripken and Malek’s group talked informally last year about a potential front office role for the legend should the District prevail in the race to relocate the Montreal Expos.

“I’m in a really good, stable place right now, being around with my family, running our youth operations and the minor league team in Aberdeen [Md.],” Ripken said. “But obviously, I do want to test some of my philosophies at some point, put them into action at the highest level. If another opportunity becomes available, I’ll obviously listen and give it every consideration.”

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