If Cal Ripken Wants To Manage Washington Nationals, It Needs To Be Now

By James Williams
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Cal Ripken, Jr. is 53 years of age. If he is really serious about being a manager in MLB then it is time to quit playing coy and declare that he wants to be a big league boss. Stop saying that no one has called him and pick up the phone to dial the Washington Nationals. The former Baltimore Orioles star who played his way into the Hall of Fame and reached iconic status by breaking New York Yankees Lou Gehrig‘s all-time consecutive game record by playing in 2,131 games. It now looks like he wants to get back into the game as a manager.

If Ripken really wants to return to MLB as a manager then it is time and he needs to step up and say: “I would like to talk to the Nationals about replacing my old boss Davey Johnson. The only way to find out if I have the right plan to be a manager, is to go through process and share my thoughts with the Nationals.”

Thus far he has gone on TV locally in the mid-Atlantic region and then to Chicago for another TV interview. Next up he went national with Rich Eisen and then with Dan Patrick talking about his interest in managing on radio. So, to say he is not looking for a job seems an odd thing to say given the number of times has talked about being a manager.

There is not an owner, player, broadcaster, writer or fan that does not respect Ripken. However, if he wants a manager job, especially the Nationals job, then he better show it. It is not for President of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo to pick up the phone and say: “Hey Cal you want come over and talk about taking over our playoff caliber team?”

Over the past two years Ripken has been seen at least 30  games at Nationals Park, hanging out with Rizzo, talking with Ted and Mark Lerner, the teams owners, Johnson, his former Birds skipper, and spending time with all of the players.  It is true some of the work was for his job as a broadcaster for TBS, but there was plenty of time Cal just spent down on the Southeast Washington waterfront.

He has no managerial experience so it is up to Cal to convince Rizzo along with team ownership that he can take Washington back to the playoffs this year and for years to come. The Nationals do not need Ripken to sell tickets; they drew over 2.8 million last season and are on target to be hit that number again in 2014.

I have said a number of times that if Ripken wants an interview for the Washington job then he will get it. Rizzo, the Lerner’s and the entire baseball operations group will be happy to hear his thoughts. But it is up to Cal to make the call to the Nationals and not the other way around.

Look, I think Ripken is a great guy and over the years I have enjoyed talking baseball with him. He is a great teacher, good as a mentor to younger players, and might make a good manager for the Nationals. But he needs to show that he wants the gig — show us some of passion you had as a player and fight for the job.

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven time Emmy Award winning  producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc and add him to your Google circles.

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