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Iron Man

By Tony Hicks
Sunday, July 29th, 2007 at 1:27 pm in Uncategorized.

Some of my metal buddies, no doubt, saw that title and thought we’d be discussing the intricacies of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid record.
Actually, with all the hoopla surrounding Cal Ripken’s Hall of Fame induction this weekend – and all the talk about his extraordinary work ethic over the years – I just remembered seeing him once behind the backstop after a Sunday A’s-Orioles game in the late 90s. I spent a few years working in the A’s out of town scoreboard and was walking back past the dugout and up the hallway. It was the last game of the series, and the visiting O’s were packing up and headed for the airport.
The A’s used to do this cool thing (I don’t know if they still do) where they’d let kids run the bases after a Sunday afternoon game. So all the other players are back in the clubhouse, except for Ripken. He’s standing there with a trainer-guy and a medicine ball, behind the backstop, watching the kids. I had a couple batting practice homerun balls in my pocket and I happened to have a pen, so I start thinking this would be a great chance to get a future Hall-of-Famer to sign a ball for me. I took a couple steps without him realizing I was there, when he suddenly said to his trainer “OK, let’s go.”
Both guys took off running out onto the field. Apparently he was waiting for enough space in the conga line of kids to make a break for the outfield. I hung out and watched as he ran to the outfield and began stretching. This was weird, I thought. Game’s over, man. Shouldn’t you be packing? Nope. Here’s this guy nearing the end of his career, who’d played more consecutive games than anyone in the history of the sport, stretching, running sprints, and tossing a medicine ball. After a game.
I’d never seen anything like it. Which is probably why he’s now a member of the Hall of Fame.
Now, about Black Sabbath…

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