Cal Ripken Jr.: So the game became official halfway through the game, which was alien to me, because that game is not over, so I’m thinking, okay, how can we stop the game because – you know – we’re still playing. So, when the game becomes official, at the end of the fifth, if you’re up, it’s four and a half, if you’re the home team, if you’re up in the score that becomes an official game, or if you’re losing you go to through five complete – games. At that time, we were winning, so after four and a half, I come off the field, we’re hitting the bottom of the fifth.
And the record is acknowledged. The banner on the warehouse goes down, everybody claps and cheers. I recognize everybody, you know, thank you very much, thank you very much. It’s the biggest curtain call you’ll ever get. You know, you might do something good and hit a homerun and be called out of the dugout for the fans to cheer for you a second time, but I kept getting called out of the dugout, and the ovation stood for 22 minutes.
That’s a long, long time to say, “Thank you, thank you.” And in my mind, “Thank you, please, let’s just get the game back on, and then I’ll celebrate as long as you want after the game is over.” That was sort of how I was viewing this and everybody was kind of reacting to it, and it wasn’t until Bobby Bo (Bonilla) and Rafael Palmeiro, that were talking about it, you need to take a lap around this field or we’ll never get this game started. And I go, “That’s ridiculous, I’m not doing that.”
And then finally Bobby Bo, in his big old boisterous voice and his physicality, they decided to push me down the line to get me started, and then I did it as an obligation at first, I said, “Maybe they’re right.” And I started shaking hands and then the magic really started to happen, because the celebration that happened in a big 50,000 feeling, sort of sense, and you were down here, all of a sudden was more personal. So I recognized people’s faces, I recognized people’s names as I went through, a lot of people had been there for years, I had been there for years.