Last night was the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak. Although the actual date was September 6, 1995, the Orioles will be away that day so they decided to hold the celebration on September 1st. Unfortunately, the stadium was only half full. I guess the kids today (wow how old am i?) don’t care what happened 20 years ago or how significant it truly was.
The year before in 1994 was the baseball strike, which really disillusioned fans. It is said that Cal saved baseball. I’m not sure about that, but he certainly did restore the faith of baseball fans – and not only Orioles’ fans, baseball fans. In the months preceding the 2131 game, Cal would stay hours after games in away cities as well as in Baltimore to sign autographs for all the fans waiting. That’s just the kind of guy he is, and why I get SO emotional every time they show that Cal Ripken 2131 footage.
I was there 20 years in September 1995 for the 2128, 2129 and 2130 (where he tied the record) games – couldn’t get or afford tickets to the 2131 game. I was there in 1998 when Cal sat down and ended The Streak after 2632 consecutive games. I was there for Cal’s final game in 2001. I was in there in Cooperstown when Cal got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. And I was there last night for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of 2131 wearing my Cal Ripken Jersey from 1995 and crying with every video shown.
We arrived around 6:15 just in time to see the end of Cal’s Moment in Time 2131 video on the big screen. Dad and Dave went to their seats in section 47, and I took my seat in section 8 4th row – literally right on the field because it’s a diagonal section so I was right on the right field foul line. It was a great seat, a great view, but a lot of bugs. Not sure if it was being that close to the field or because it was so humid. Watching Cal’s video, I started to cry. Just remembering how much I used to love the Orioles and Cal and of course Brady Anderson. After the video ended, they played U2’s “Wire,” which used to be Cal’s walk-up music. Then it was time! Another video of Cal was shown on the big screen and I cried again. They introduced Cal as he was going to throw out the First Pitch. Then they started to introduce Brady Anderson as he was going to catch Cal’s First Pitch, as I knew he would. They played together for 14 years and are still great friends today. When they started announcing Brady, I went nuts! Screaming SO loud and shaking. I love my Brady, he’s a close third behind Elvis Presley and Larry Mullen. (To learn more about my passion for Brady, please click here.)
In the middle of the 5th inning, they showed a video retrospective of Cal’s career and then showed Cal in the booth – and I again cried. When the 5th inning ended, we left because the Orioles were losing 8-0. The Orioles can’t even win for Cal. They ended up losing 11-2. But I didn’t care. I went to see Cal and Brady, Iron and Steal together again. It was worth every hot humid Tampa run. For a brief moment before the game started, Orioles Magic was alive again in Baltimore.
To all my photos from the 2131 20th Anniversary Celebration, please click here.