Cal Ripken Jr: Baseball will help America heal

Chris Lingebach
April 08, 2020 - 10:29 am

Cal Ripken Jr. applauds Major League Baseball for considering unconventional approaches to return to play from the coronavirus.

MLB is trying to find solutions to a complex problem, with one idea reportedly considering playing the 2020 regular season entirely in Arizona beginning as early as May or June. Under that proposed plan – which the league says it has not settled on – would place all 30 teams in the greater Phoenix area and utilize Chase Field, the home of the Diamondbacks, along with a number of other fields and stadiums in the area, including 10 spring training facilities.

In an interview with The Sports Junkies Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan, Ripken was asked whether he thinks that plan could work.

"If you put your analytical mind to the test, there's a lot of hurdles and challenges to get over something like that," Ripken said. "But I think it hit me yesterday that they're really trying to get baseball back in some way, some shape or form, and that made me happy, because I think sports in general can serve as a mechanism to bring us back."

WATCH: The Full Interview With Cal Ripken Jr.

"I know in 9/11, after we all reacted to 9/11, we didn't know what to do," Ripken said. "And then all of a sudden the baseball season got pushed back a week or so and we come back to the game, and the celebration of baseball and people being able to immerse themselves in the pennant race, it seemed like we played a nice role in helping us at least with a distraction."

"I've always believed that baseball in particular can be healing in some ways," he said, "and I think we're gonna need a way to bring us back to some sense of normalcy. And my sense of normalcy is when baseball's being played, or when you turn on SportsCenter and you can see all the games that were played yesterday.

"So I applaud Major League Baseball for trying to figure it out, and I know they would never compromise the players in that situation, but they're racking their brains pretty good trying to figure out how we can bring baseball back and just to give us the sense of something to look forward to each day."

"How would you have felt, though, as a veteran with young kids to be away from your family for four months," he was asked, "if that's the way they do it?"

"Well I mean, you don't know what the timeframe is, and so you go into it not necessarily thinking the worst," Ripken said. "I think I would look at it from an optimistic standpoint. I think baseball players are baseball players, and they're sitting around not doing what they do, and so I think generally they want to play."

"Same question is can they play in front of no fans?" he continued. "It's sad to think about that, but we all played in front of very little fans at some points in our career, and even going back to the sandlot days, we competed really hard with nobody cheering for us.

"And so to me, given the choice, I'd rather have baseball back in some capacity and then try to deal with the situations, then not have it back at all."