NEW YORK -- Bill Ripken not only loves to talk about Major League Baseball, but he also loves to help kids play the game the right way. Tonight at 7 ET, Ripken will host an hour-long "Sandlot to the Show" on MLB Network. Segments of the show can be seen often on MLB Central, which is on during baseball season, and MLB Tonight.
STTS will show the top 50 videos of former and current Major Leaguers. Ripken then provides individual advice and breakdowns for the youth players who submitted their baseball or softball videos to the network on social media. All the videos are from 2019. The videos include pitching, hitting, fielding and catching behind the plate.
“I like to do anything that has to do with kids in baseball,” Ripken said. “[The parents] have some characters out there and they send in some video of their kids. You look at them. There are so many to choose from.
“It’s a shame we can’t get to all of them. ... I try to go through the ones that are easily viewed as a quick fix or something that jumps out at me that they are doing extremely well [to the point where] they don’t need my help. The cool thing about that is, when kids did things well, there is nothing wrong with positive reinforcement on top of it.”
Does Ripken have a personal favorite video? It would have to be the left-handed-hitting Eva, who can rake, according to Ripken.
“I was in Studio 42 with big Jim Thome one night,” Ripken remembered. "She was hitting some absolute line drives -- one after the other. I liked everything about her -- her setup. It looked like she was getting after it with every swing, working at her craft. She was a little left-handed hitter that was hitting off the tee. She had a little nice rock with her rhythm before the swing started. There was no wasted movement.”
It’s not a surprise that Ripken loves to help kids. It comes from his father, Cal Ripken Sr., who taught Ripken and brother Cal Jr. how to play the game the right way. It wasn’t only in Little League that they learned their craft from dad, but Cal Sr. had a big say in what they did in professional baseball. Cal Sr. was their manager in 1987 and six games into the ’88 season.
“My dad was the consummate teacher, in my opinion,” Bill Ripken said. "... There was always a method to his madness, and I think it showed probably as much on the baseball field. If there was one quality I got from my father, it was that ability to be able to connect to a kid. I’ve studied a long time. I had one of the best teachers going. He was never more happy than passing on something to a young person to make them a little bit better.
"I get a lot of enjoyment out of that. I enjoy the look on [a kid’s] face when you can make a suggestion on the baseball field about doing something this way. They do it, they have success and you could tell that a light bulb went off. That will never get old to me.”