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Cal awaits right opportunity to return to MLB

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

NEW YORK -- Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. recently said he is not sure if he wants to own a Major League Baseball team or manage one. The opportunity has to be right.

Best known for playing in a record 2,632 consecutive games, Ripken, 56, owns several Minor League teams, runs baseball camps and appears on TBS as a baseball analyst.

NEW YORK -- Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. recently said he is not sure if he wants to own a Major League Baseball team or manage one. The opportunity has to be right.

Best known for playing in a record 2,632 consecutive games, Ripken, 56, owns several Minor League teams, runs baseball camps and appears on TBS as a baseball analyst.

"I always thought I would come back to the game in some form or another because it's what you learn and what you know," Ripken said on the "Newsmakers" podcast. "But I'm not sure that would happen now. I'm a little older. I have my businesses that I'm trying to grow. Looking at some of the options in your life, you might get back there. But who knows? I still might come back to the big league game in some capacity. As time ticks, it's less likely."

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There was a time Ripken had interest in joining an ownership group. The Orioles, the team he played with for 21 years, was the only franchise he had in mind. But there weren't any signs of Peter Angelos, the chairman of the board, selling the team.

Ripken recently heard former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush put an ownership group together and are in the running to purchase the Marlins. Ripken is curious to see what Jeter does once he gets the team.

"His stature and his knowledge of baseball is great," Ripken said of Jeter. "I think it's really great for Major League Baseball to have a player that is part of ownership. I want to call him up, and kind of ask him what his plans are."

During his playing career, Ripken was considered a manager on the field. After his retirement, he talked to teams about possibly becoming the field general. He declined to identify the teams he talked to about the job.

"It's appealing," Ripken said. "I don't know if the right opportunity came along now I would jump at the chance. I'm always smart enough to listen. … It is something that I know, and it is something I get excited about."

Ripken's playing days ended in 2001, and he doesn't have any bitterness toward the game of baseball. Like many, he is a fan.

"You hear some of the old guys say, 'When I played, it was better because this happened.' I don't agree," Ripken said. "I think the game evolves, you make a contribution to the game and you help improve it. …

"The guys [today] are bigger, stronger, faster. TV has allowed people to analyze other people's styles. They can add things to their game. I think the game has improved. The specialization of the game has made it harder on hitting, I think. The specialization of the bullpen -- not only are we seeing the development of the closer, but the development of setup guys. You have a guy for the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. If you get those guys like Kansas City did [in 2015], you really shorten the game. I think the game is good, it's fun to watch. I'm not one of those guys who say the game was better when I played it."

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and does a podcast, Newsmakers. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Baltimore Orioles