Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Don from 'The Newsroom' loves the Orioles because 'Cal Ripken saved baseball'

The Newsroom's Don says Cal Ripken saved baseball

The year was 1995: the Baltimore Ravens didn't exist, the Wizards were the Bullets and Cal Ripken Jr. was still nearly a full season away from breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak. It would be nearly another decade before Omar Little started knocking over corners on HBO's The Wire. (Sorry, had to.)

Thomas Sadoski was a 19-year-old aspiring actor nearly two decades away from landing his breakout role as Don in Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama, The Newsroom. Baseball was looking to rebound from the strike-shortened 1994 season and Sadoski -- who spent parts of his childhood in Connecticut and Texas -- was hoping someone would step up and welcome fans back to the game. That person, he says, was none other than the Iron Man himself, Cal Ripken Jr.

So I fell in love with baseball, and in 1994, when the strike came and everything sort of went to hell, the year after I sort of felt like Cal Ripken saved baseball. It was watching Cal do his thing that year - I had family in Dundalk that I didn't know particularly well, but when I was a little kid, they had given me this Orioles banner that I had up on my wall. So I always sort of, in as much as I wasn't following the games or seeing them live, I always had this big O's banner on my wall. While I was watching Cal do his thing in Camden, that season the hook got set for me.

Ripken broke Gehrig's incredible streak on September 6, 1995. The following season, the O's made it to the ALCS, but fell short of Jeter's Yankees in a series higlighted by the controversial no-call on fan interference out in right field. In '97, the O's outscored the Indians 19-18 in six games, but managed to lose the ALCS for a second straight season. In '99, Sadoski met his wife, a Baltimore native, and eventually made his first trip to Camden Yards:

Then in 1999, I meet this amazing woman who will eventually become my wife and she's from Baltimore. I went down to visit her and spend some time with her family, I get taken to an Orioles game by her stepfather, who is, when you talk about Orioles fans, this guy is the Orioles fan. He's borderline Wild Bill. I went to Camden, man, and that was it. It's impossible not to fall in love with that ballpark. At the time, it was not an easy team to root for for the last however many, 10, 15 years I've been a fan. It's not an easy fandom to be a part of, but what I appreciate was how smart the fans were, how passionate the fans were, the ones that kept showing up. I love the ballpark, I love the team, I love the history, and that was it for me. The hook was just set and I'm a very happy, very proud O's and Ravens fan.

Don

[h/t The Baltimore Sun]

Read More: Baltimore Orioles