I only need to tell this part of the story to the non-baseball-nuts among us, but Cal comes from a baseball family; his dad, Cal, Sr, was a longtime coach in the Orioles' glory days and taught two of his three sons how to play the game the right way. The third son, Fred, chose not to follow Cal Jr and Billy onto the diamond, and that was his choice. A cool family they are, and even though the recent abduction of the widowed mom, "Miss Vi," shook the area, she is safe now and I have no doubt that the kidnapper will be rounded up presently.
I want to stress that Cal is still every bit the gentleman, now that his playing days have ended and he has become a businessman. I have been lucky enough to be around him three times over the years, and he has always treated everyone in the crowd like they were important to him - and not in the phony way, either.
I have to share this: The other night, a lady I used to work with took her mom to the Bonefish Grill in Bel Air to celebrate her mom's 88th birthday. I'll let my friend finish the story:
We were sitting 2 tables away from Cal Ripken and 3 of his business associates. He came over after dinner and wished Mom a Happy Birthday and let me take a photo of the 2 of them. He really is a nice man to allow us to butt into his dinner! Thanks, Cal!
And, look at this photo of a happy lady on her 88th, and a man with business and his own family on his mind, who still took time to come over and wish the lady a happy birthday! Can you imagine how happy she is? I'm thrilled for her, and for all of us who get to see this fine man live his life with us in such an exemplary fashion.
On behalf of all of us fans, thank you, Cal!