Saturday, January 27, 2007

Baseball's Best 2007 & The Ripken Coaching Experience & Seminar

I just got home from the Baseball’s Best Memorabilia/Autograph show along with the Ripken Coaching Experience at the Baltimore Convention Center, and I’ll tell you I had one the longest, but yet, most enjoyable days I have ever had.

The first part of the morning was spent looking at memorabilia & the autograph show. I found the memorabilia show quite boring, but there were plenty of exhibits to see along with artifacts, pictures and stuff to buy. I ended up getting prints with signatures of Stan Musial, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken and Jim Palmer.

The morning was pretty much ho-hum. However, I did get a chance to chat with the Baltimore Sun’s Roch Kubatko and we talked about mostly Orioles baseball.

Later on, I ventured into a separate room where the autograph portion was taking place. You had to buy a ticket to even enter the room, and I ended up giving in and got an autograph of Tony Gwynn. Anyhow, I spent about an hour or so taking pictures of the festivities in the room, and in my time there, I saw Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Tony Gwynn Jr. Jim Palmer, Rick Dempsey, Eddie Murray, Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver, Johnny Bench, Don Mattingly, Preston Mattingly, Mike Boddicker and Al Bumbry all in one room.

Wow. I was just taking it all in.

After taking a break for lunch, I went to take part in the Ripken Coaching Experience & Seminar. The event took place in three separate rooms and each had a theme – hitting, pitching and fielding. Upon checking in, each participant got a packet which included a maual and some advertisements. Taking part in the seminar were the family Ripken, Cal and Bill along with Don Mattingly, Jim Palmer, former Orioles Scott McGregor, John Habyan, Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, and Doug DeCinces. The seminar was mostly geared to coaches who work with kids and teens, along with parents, but fans also took part in a chance to learn the game and meet their idols.

Having the opportunity to take part in the coaching seminar, I got learn a little more about the fundamentals of the game, but more importantly, got to hear the pros expound on their philosophy of what helped them at the highest levels. Much of the principles that the Ripkens’ shared with the participants follow the parables of the “Oriole Way” and the influence of their father, Cal Ripken Sr. The seminar covered all aspects of the game by the pros that included pitching, hitting, & fielding fundamentals, along with working with kids/teens.

It was amazing the wealth of knowledge shared by the pros, hearing a lot of their stories on the field, teaching kids and taking an interactive part in the seminar. There was ample opportunity to ask questions along with share comments, so quite a few people took a chance to ask the instructors whatever they wanted to know about pitching, hitting, fielding and whatever was on their mind. The highlight of the event for me was having the opportunity to shake Cal Ripken’s hand and tell him congratulations on being voted into the Hall of Fame.

However, the best part of the seminar was Billy Ripken. As much as I love Cal, Bill was absolutely entertaining and livened things with Doug DeCinces with his stories, and funny, boisterous attitude in conjunction with the instructional material. He made things absolutely memorable by joking with the audience and just having fun. Having the chance to just hear stories of particular incidents, games and events from the perspective of a player, especially ones you followed growing up just amazes and draws you into the experience.

The Ripken Coaching Experience and Seminar was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and taking part in it is something I will always remember. Having the chance meet both Cal and Bill Ripken in person, along with meeting Don Mattingly, Jim Palmer and Doug DeCinces is a dream for any fan, but learning the fundamentals and parables of the game from them in person is priceless.

Notes from the Event: Two people from ‘Yankees On Deck’ (not sure if it is a show, or website) got the opportunity to ask Cal Ripken about the “Streak” and he gave an honest, open answer concerning it from his perspective. Cal said that it was nothing he ever aspired to doing, it just came about from his willingness to play & having the opportunity to be in the lineup every day. As well, he asserted that it took a life of its own and admitted in a sense the “Streak” might have hurt the team at times when he struggled. Cal Ripken even considered ending it if really hurt the team, and one point nearly stopped it when he struggled mightily, but his wife talked him out of doing it.

“It’s funny that Yankee fans came down all this way to learn about the ‘Oriole Way’…” – Bill Ripken

Slide Show & Gallery of the Baseball's Best 2007 Memorabilia and Card Show

Baseball’s Best 2007

Slide Show & Gallery of the Ripken Coaching Experience

The Ripken Coaching Experience & Seminar

More Stuffage: Here's an article from the Baltimore Sun's Roch Kubatko about the events today, and his blog entry.


Jason said...

Thanks Anthony. I've been waiting all day to read your post on that event and it sounds like you had a great time. A once in a lifetime experience. I would have loved to have just been in the same room as Don Mattingly. He was my childhood idol. Loved the photos.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Thanks! Yesterday was great and I'm so tired. It cost $150 for the event, but it was well worth it and indeed it will be something I will always remember.

I never had an affinity for Mattingly at all, but he was nothing short of awesome. He not only shared his knowledge, but signed autographs after the session, shook hands and he was down to earth.

Anonymous said...

WOW.Your day sounds like heaven!I wish I didnt have suhch a cheap husband,
I love what Billy said about the evil yanks fans!!!

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Cindy, thanks to coming to my part of the internet! I appreciate the comments, and yes as a fan, this was far worth it.

Bill Ripken was a riot, and he and Cal are as different as night and day! At times, Bill was a little bit much, but man did he ever make things entertaining.

Cal was beyond incredible, humble and such a great presence.

The afternoon was priceless...

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