The MLB Network’s hire of Billy Ripken is hailed by the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman (“landing Bob Costas was simple (math). It was like going into Tiffany’s with some sugar daddy’s credit card…plucking Ripken was like finding a diamond inside a bowl of tomato-rice soup at a diner”), though it’s a small shame some brotherly hyperbole gets in the way of a nice tale.
For real, scoring Ripken, for bargain dollars, was a coup, especially for those who appreciate a broadcaster who 1) doesn’t take himself seriously, 2) talks the game without talking down and 3) actually has a personality.
œWhen you’re in a clubhouse and someone says something that ain’t quite right, you call ˜BS’ on it in a hurry. That’s being part of a group, Ripken said. œWhether it’s in the clubhouse, whether it’s in a boardroom, personalities come out and good comes out of it. It spurs debate and conversation.
Cal Ripken said his brother was being modest. When they were kids growing up in Aberdeen, Md., he referred to Billy as Ferris Bueller. People gravitated toward the kid. œHe’s got a quick wit and a wonderful sense of timing, Cal Ripken said. œBill was that guy in the clubhouse, on every team he played on, who kept everyone loose and where they had to be.
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” opened in U.S. theatres in June of 1986. At the time, Cal was 26 years old and playing his 5th season of big league baseball. Younger brother Billy was 21 and playing his 4th season of professional baseball for Charlotte of the Southern League (AA). If Billy was ever called “Ferris Bueller” it certainly happened long after his Maryland childhood.