Sunday, July 29, 2007

Baseball Hall of Fame Inducts Cal Ripken, Jr.

The year was 1997. Bill Clinton began his second term as this nation's 42nd president. The Simpsons became the longest running animated series on prime time TV. Drive by shooters killed popular rapper, Notorious B.I.G. And, it was the last time the Baltimore Orioles ended the regular season with a winning record.

Ten years? Fo’ real?

Apparently, yes. Gone are the glory days of the black and orange. As far as my childerns’ generation are concerned, dem O’s are a bunch o’losers.

What went wrong? I have no idea. Nor do I plan to speculate.

I grew up in the golden age of the Orioles and the Baltimore Colts. Brookes Robinson was so popular one of my elementary school classmates was named after him. In 1983, the Orioles had just won the World Series. I watched with pride as they staged a Mardi Gras-esque parade through the streets of Charm City with Cal Ripken, Jr. at the helm. My heart swelled with pride.

Today, dem O’s couldn’t claw their way out of a wet paper bag. Our beloved Colts play for another, ahem, unmentionable city (Ravens rule!). And O’Malley still hasn’t fixed utility costs that continue to spiral out of control. How is a battle weary Baltimoron supposed to deal?

Countdown to Cooperstown!

That’s right. This morning, the Iron Man, Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore’s own homespun hero, will be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cal is just the right mix of legend, consecutive games record holder, and genuine nice guy. In an honor bestowed upon select few, this exclusive club accepted his bid on a first round vote. Can anyone resist those baby blues?

Thousands of victory-starved devotees are currently swarming Cooperstown. These people are intent upon savoring the moment like a cool drink of water on a desert afternoon. Sadly, I will not be among them, but I can hear almost the thunderous applause.

Stand up and take a bow, Cal Ripken, Jr. I hear that people who think Charlestown Community resident, Al Blackburn, resembles you also believe in the Tooth Fairy. No matter what they say, or think, they cannot dispute your stature as the genuine article. A role model and hero.

Thank you for once again instilling pride in the hearts of beleaguered Baltimore fans. This day has been a long time coming.