Maddon brings baseball great to Hazleton

In fact, it was Billy that got his brother Cal involved with the Hazleton Integration Project.

“I like finding like-minded people who want to help their communities and kids,” Cal Ripken said. He pointed out how Maddon is very involved in the Hazleton community each year. If kids have problems, he likes helping them out and it seems like a good fit, Ripken said. He said his parents taught him to use his influence that baseball gave him to help other people by building baseball complexes as safe places for kids to play the game.

“I think in some ways you can use that to glue people together that think in the same way and combine resources so you can do more things,” Ripken said.

Ripken still lives in Baltimore and sees many of the current Orioles players and is friendly with them. He feels he is welcome when he visits them. But he does not have an official position with the club.

His shining moment in baseball was when he broke Gehrig’s consecutive games record. But it came after a players strike, lockout and canceled World Series. Ripken said the timing was right to bring the fans back and that moment did just that.

“It was one of those moments that people wanted to hold on to,” he said.

He also touched briefly on the steroid issue. Ripken said the small parts of the game, bunting and hit-and-run-type plays, are coming back. It’s not just about hitting home runs and throwing the baseball 110 miles per hour.

He doesn’t know the motivation and mind set of the people who did get involved in steroids.

Maddon said social media represents change and he likes change.

“I left my comfort zone in Tampa Bay and I loved it there, the ownership, the community, everything, I can’t tell you one bad thing about Tampa Bay. I thought it was baseball Camelot,” Maddon said. “But for me to grow I needed a change, so, getting back to social media, I think you’ve got to use everything at your disposal.

“I don’t want to live in a gated community. I don’t want to live on a country club. I want to be in the middle of everything. I want to bring everybody together and get rid of this lovable loser kind of an attitude so this winning type of an attitude starts with the fan base,” Maddon offered.

The Cubs haven’t won the World Series in 106 years.

Told he would be elected president if he turns the perennial losing Cubs into a winner, Maddon said if that happens, “I’d be satisfied with two things, a ’57 Chevy Nomad trimmed out or a ’76 Dodge Shaggin’ Wagon. If we win and I could get that, I’d be very happy.”

 

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