Gilman senior Ryan Ripken has lived in the shadow of his famous dad for 18 years, but the six-foot-five scholar-athlete is an accomplished baseball player in his own right. Next year, he heads to the University of South Carolina, with its number one baseball program, to pursue his dream of professional baseball stardom and to take his place in the family’s baseball legacy.
Our intern Rixey Moore asks Ripken about what comes next.
Is professional baseball your current career “dream”? And is it within reach?
Yes. That would be a dream of mine to be able to play a game that I love, but I know it’s really hard to achieve that goal. I just plan to work as hard as I can and see where it takes me.
Did your love of the sport come naturally or was it almost required, because of the environment you were brought up in?
Nothing was ever forced on me, my parents allowed me to do what I wanted to do. It just so happened that I came to love baseball, basketball and soccer growing up — baseball is close to my family and me.
Briefly discuss your experience growing up in Baltimore, home of the Orioles.
I do love Baltimore and where I’m from. There are a lot of connections here, but I’ve been blessed to live a good life so far and be part of a lot of great things and go to a great school. Most of my friends I’ve known since I was six.
What are your academic interests?
I’m going into the business school at the University of South Carolina. I’m not sure what that will entail, but it’s a start. I think college for me will just be an important time to find out what I want to do just like it is for everyone else.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of baseball?
This year I’ve enjoyed being with my friends as much as possible because we all know next year we will be going our separate ways. I also really like just having family time at home, that is very important to me.
Does your legacy ever get in the way?
I try not to let it. I tend to tune it out and focus on the game. Your mind needs to be in the right place while you play. I’ve learned to cope and not let (what other people are saying) affect me. Sometimes it’s hard when people talk about me (during a game) or my family, and living up to my dad, but to me what matters is if our team gets the win or not, that’s what I care about.
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