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Was that “Carl” in the TBS booth last night?

Lombardi's Way Was that “Carl” in the TBS booth last night?

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Baltimore gets a bad rap.

Our town is thought of by folks outside of the area as a cesspool of murderers, drug dealers and STD’s thanks in no small part to television shows like The Wire and Homicide.

Our football team is labeled a group of thugs because of the public’s misperception of Ray Lewis.

Weather Channel updates show those of Philadelphia and DC but nothing on Baltimore. We’re often thought of as no more than a rest stop during treks between those two neighboring cities.

No wonder we have such a collective inferiority complex.

Well at least our magical baseball team is thought of in a positive light given their remarkable turnaround and of course the stellar reputation of the guy who many believe saved baseball following the 1994-95 MLB strike – Cal Ripken, Jr.

Ripken has been a source of civic pride and is generally considered to be one of Baltimore’s greatest ambassadors.

Until yesterday…

Ripken’s commentary on last night’s Orioles @ Yankees game broadcast by TBS was so pro-Yankees I wanted to vomit.

Here’s our ambassador, a symbol of Baltimore civic pride, a man synonymous with baseball in The Land of Pleasant Living and he puts on a Yankees love fest? The team that is universally considered to be on par with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the most hated and bitter rival amongst Baltimoreans – those Yankees?


A couple of days ago he claimed that Adrian Beltre is the best third basemen he’s ever seen, adding, “Sorry Brooksie.” This isn’t meant as a slight on Beltre at all but let’s do the math – 16 > 3. That’s the number of Gold Gloves Brooks has compared to the 33-year-old Beltre.

Ripken’s “clarification” on 105.7 The Fan seemed like nothing more than an attempt to spin doctor the PR hit on his Teflon reputation. It didn’t work for me although admittedly I’m very pro-Brooks Robinson.

But then it got worse…

Last night love was in the air for Ripken and the objects of his desire were Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and “Tex”. While “Tex” fails to take charge on a pop up that falls to the infield, instead of chastising the Yankees for what could have been a major blunder, Ripken criticizes Mark Reynolds for not being on second base after the miscue.

Look I get that Ripken probably wanted to play the role of the impartial analyst. But he seemed so hell bent on being impartial that he came off as being pro-Yankee in a big way. And given his status in Baltimore, that’s just inexcusable.

When analysts like Shannon Sharpe, Michael Irvin, Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Tom Jackson, Bill Cowher, et al show partiality on a national stage for their former teams, why should Ripken be any different?

Maybe TBS was right the other night when they referred to Cal as “Carl Ripken, Jr.”

He seems like an imposter anyway.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. He also hosts Backfield in Motion with Justin Forsett seen on ABC2 every Saturday at 1PM. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. He ignores the passengers in cars beside him who laugh. Follow Tony's new Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi


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