Baseball season is over in Baltimore and Washington, but the two Beltway areas will be filled with diamond-centered chatter for weeks to come as each team reshuffles after a disappointing season. At least for this week, heads are turned toward DC as the Nationals look to make a manager change. Once again, rumors are circulating that the all-time Orioles iron man is in the running.
Cal Ripken, Jr.’s name surfaced when the Nats were looking for a new manager two years ago, and The Washington Post flagged interest in the former shortstop even before this season ended.
But that’s not to say he’s the pragmatic option. Nats GM Mike Rizzo declared that the team is looking for someone with previous experience. That led the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck to deem speculation about Ripken “over before it began.”
The Post even made a list of reasons why the Ripken move didn’t fit. There are lots of baseball reasons, but O’s fans will likely take note of the section labelled “The Baltimore Divide.” Ripken is popular in DC because of the pre-Natitude days. But 10 years into their own franchise, DC should move on, Dan Steinberg writes:
So there’s something needy and backward-looking about snatching up someone with that resume, some small hint of the “no real baseball fans in Washington” slur. Just the thought of fans in orange jerseys giving Ripken a standing ovation inside Nationals Park — or, heaven forbid, resuscitating the National Anthem ‘O’ — makes 2016 feel like less of the fresh start it should be.
Even if he were a good fit in the dugout, it would be equally — if not more — strange for Baltimoreans to see Ripken espousing Natitude. Camden Chat’s Mike Brown writes that if Ripken is going to run a team it’s better he manages another squad, so as to ward off a breakup that would tarnish his Orioles legacy. But the closest team geographically and chief cross-league rival seems like another step altogether. Sharing the living player most identified with the O’s franchise is a lot different than sharing MASN.
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