MLB great Cal Ripken Jr. tests his cooking skills at Roy Rogers

Cal Ripken Jr. Talks New Role With u0003Roy Rogers Restaurants

MLB great Cal Ripken Jr. tests his cooking skills at Roy Rogers
Cal Ripken Jr.

Total Food Service caught up with Cal Ripken Jr and discussed life after baseball, what drew him to Roy Rogers, and what he’s up to next.

A number of our readers may have lost touch with you since you retired from baseball.  Can you give us a quick recap of what you’ve been doing since baseball?

I left baseball with the big plan to get into the youth baseball business. We now have three complexes that we run tournament experiences , we run camps, and we help teach baseball.

You have always spoken about the role that your dad played in your life?

We try to pass along the love of the game that Dad gave us. We try to pass it along to aspiring baseball players. We started a foundation after we lost our Dad that has grown to a national movement.

What else have you been doing? Weren’t you doing TV for a long time?

I continued there for about ten years or so. I did the broadcast work for TBS. I’m not doing that anymore. But it was fun to learn a little bit about that industry. And I’ve maintained my corporate sponsorships.

That’s why I’d to talk to you being a spokesperson for the Roy Rogers Restaurants today.

It is a new relationship, which every time I mention that, it makes me smile. Because as a kid, that was a special night out. My dad managed in the minor leagues for the first 14 years.

So many times, we were looking for good, quick food. And I remember going to Roy Rogers, and my favorite sandwich was the roast beef sandwich.

Not only did I love the food but also it reminds me of the good times with my Dad and family fabric.

How did the deal come together with Roy Rogers?

We started talking about being able to help each other, they were celebrating their 50th year, which made me curious right away. That turned into a discussion of how we could help the foundation, which is in my dad’s name. I knew we were on the same page. We had the same values and I knew it was going to be a good match.

Talk about how you did your due diligence on Roy Rogers?

I started with a trip to a couple of their stores. They were trying to teach me how to work in food prep and then at the take-out window. It was fun talking to customers.

So any interest in owning a franchise or being in the restaurant industry?

I’m not a franchisee yet just a spokesperson for now. But I’m curious.

Talk about the role of food and beverage with your minor league baseball operations?

Well, we’ve got a moderately team business and of course there’s a concession agreement. In the beginning we brought in a third party.

Ultimately, we wanted control over the overall experience, so we took it over.  We had moderate success and we continue to learn. We recently have opted to put that back in the hands of people who have more experience.

Can we get your thoughts on proper nutrition for a young ballplayer? Where does a menu Roy Rogers fit in?

To me, it’s a lot of common sense. It goes back to my mom lecturing on the basic four food groups, all that she said was it’s important to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It’s important to get your balance of different types of foods. Now a days you can get a whole lot more scientific and there’s a whole lot more information to make the right choices.

So I think with Roy’s you can make some good healthy choices when you come in.

I’m getting a whole new look now. I am re-engaged with my son who now is now in the minor leagues.

The logistics of playing in the minor leagues of baseball is that after you play a night game and you’re going to get on the bus and go to the next stop and fast food is usually the option. It’s less expensive, and time matters.

You’ve got to get on the bus and go to the next city. So you’re constantly looking for which places are open at those hours, and I can firmly remember that in my mind.

I’m glad that Roy Rogers has some of those healthy choices. But it’s all part of learning to become a “pro”. You need to learn balance.

You played with the Orioles with your brother and for your dad. A lot of our businesses, a lot of our restaurants, are actually family-owned businesses. So can you talk about succeeding in a family business environment?

I loved the opportunity.  Some other people see it as undue pressure on you because it challenges and creates super expectations. I never looked at it that way.

The biggest value was you get a chance to work with your dad and you could see his principles of work, number one. He really worked hard.

He did things the right way and he gave you that road map as an example of how to go about handling it yourself.

Even though it’s hard for me to still call baseball work, it’s a game. But because you are doing it for a living in reality it is work. Most importantly, when we were together as a family, sometimes we just focused on our jobs, instead of each other.

We would be remiss, if we didn’t mention the 110 losses by this year’s Orioles. Your thoughts?

Don’t forget, I played for a team that lost 107 games and lost 21 games to start the season. We were the laughing stock of the league. So the reality is that they’re going through a rebuilding situation. So I feel for them, I’ve been there, I know how it feels.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Today, you can rebuild a good team together relatively fast. It is about making good baseball decisions and drafting well, and then having them come together at once.

We keep hearing that baseball has no young fans?

From my experience, I would still see lots of interest with young people. I am still amazed at the enthusiasm when I sign baseball cards. As a kid, I played soccer, basketball and baseball. The problem today is that in an area Maryland kids opt for a single sport Lacrosse at a very young age. It’s a pretty good game but I hate that kids are locked into one sport so early.

World Series pick?  [Editor’s Note: this was asked before MLB Playoffs began]

I the construction of the Red Sox team. I think that they played really well and they are balanced and they can score. They can win the one run games, so I a team that.

To learn more about Cal Ripken Jr. and his endeavors, visit the websites for Roy Rogers and Ripken Baseball.


Cal Ripken Jr. on his foundation, the O’s, Machado, and Bryce Harper

MLB great Cal Ripken Jr. tests his cooking skills at Roy Rogers

WASHINGTON — Baltimore Orioles legend and baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Junior stopped by WTOP on Monday morning for a quick chat that covered everything from his foundation’s charity work to the Orioles’ struggles to Bryce Harper’s approaching free agency.

You can watch the whole chat in the video below.

At 5 p.m. Monday, Ripken will be at the Roy Rogers in Alexandria, Virginia, with his foundation to celebrate the restaurant chain’s 50 years of business and play a bit of “quick ball.”

“That’s just a fancy name for Wiffle ball; we have particular bats and softer balls so you can get the action moving a lot quicker,” Ripken told WTOP’s Bruce Alan and Joan Jones.

“The important thing is kids get a chance to get reps and play in a safe environment.”

Roy Rogers is a partner with the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation, which seeks to create safe opportunities for young people to develop valuable life skills and build character while honoring the spirit of Cal Ripken Sr.

“Sports is a really great, valuable tool to direct young people in positive directions and learn valuable lessons, and Dad had a real knack for that,” Ripken said.

“We thought his legacy was about helping kids. He used to use baseball to get in front of kids, create mentorships and programs and those sort of things. … He lost his dad when he was 10 and I think he felt for all kids that didn’t have that sort of fatherly influence and used baseball to get them focusing on a positive thing.”

On the Orioles’ season so far

It’s been 17 years since Ripken last played with the Orioles, but he is still arguably the most recognizable member of the organization.

In his 21 years with the team, Ripken won a World Series title in 1983, the 1982 Rookie of the Year Award and two MVP awards, and played a big role in guiding them to the playoffs in 1996 and 1997.

It’s hard not to talk about the struggles the team has been going through this season.

“There’s a lot of ups and downs in the game, but when you’re going through a down period, it’s just not a fun time.”

There haven’t been a lot of fun times this season. For a good chunk of the year, the Orioles were on pace to break a record for the most losses in a single season.

While things have improved slightly, after 97 games the 2018 Orioles are heading into the All-Star Break with a worse record than the 1988 team, which was the worst team in Oriole history.

Ripken said the team has some important decisions to make.

“I still enjoy watching them; their effort is really good. They got some really good players,” he said. “But they have some decisions they need to make right now.”

Arguably the biggest decision the team will make is what happens with Manny Machado.

Machado is a free agent next year, and the team could get a lot of prospects if they decide to trade him before the trade deadline on July 31. There has certainly been no shortage of trade talks surrounding Machado.

“Manny Machado wants to know where he is going,” Ripken said. “The uncertainty, I think, probably bothers him and it probably bothers the rest of the club too.”

Ripken experienced a similar situation firsthand in the dreadful 1988 season, where the team lost its first 21 games.

“During that time, the Orioles thought they wouldn’t be able to sign me; I was a free agent at the end of year,” Ripken said.

“It bothered me a lot that there were rumors every day that I was going to get traded to the Red Sox or the Yankees. It was unnerving. The rest of your teammates feel a little bit of that instability as well.”

Ripken said he hasn’t talked about the situation with Machado directly, and admitted he didn’t know whether doing so would make Machado feel any better.

On Bryce Harper and his impending free agency

At the very least, the uncertainty surrounding Machado’s impending free agency hasn’t noticeably affected his performance on the field.

It’s a slightly different story surrounding Bryce Harper, who is also a free agent at the end of the season.

By some measures, Harper is having a good year, but he enters the All-Star break hitting just .214, which would easily be the lowest batting average of his career.

Ripken thinks that the uncertainty surrounding Harper’s contract status might be affecting his performance.

“As best you can, you want to separate the business side from the playing side,” he said.

“Baseball is tough, because you have to do it every single day and you have to keep an even keel. Anything that makes you up and down, especially the way a contract status does, that doesn’t serve you on a daily basis.”

Ripken pointed to his 1992 season, when contract negotiations with the Orioles were going on during the regular season.

“It seemed when you were doing good, the contract negotiations heated up and when you were slumping a little bit, the contract negotiations would go away,” he said. “That’s not a way to play a season.”

Ripken only hit .251 in 1992, and posted the lowest OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) his career to that point. A year earlier, in 1991, Ripken had won the MVP award and posted the highest OPS of his career to that point.

“I think if you can separate and say ‘OK, there’s a time for negotiation, either before the season or after,’ I think you’d be better off.”


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