Cal Ripken Jr.’s mom is victim of holdup in parking lot

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Violet “Vi” Ripken, who was kidnapped and later returned last year, was assaulted in a bank parking lot on Aberdeen, Maryland on Tuesday, WBAL news reports.

The report states that Vi Ripken, 75, was unhurt in the incident and that an arrest has been made.

Vi Ripken is the widow of former major league manager Cal Ripken and mother of Hall of Famer Cal Jr. and fellow Orioles infielder Billy. Last July, she was kidnapped, only to be returned unharmed 24 hours later. The perpetrators of that crime were never caught. That she was targeted then because of the family’s money seems to be given. Whether this was a random crime or if she was targeted again is unclear.

Cal Jr. is still expected to be in the TBS booth for Tuesday night’s NLCS Game 4.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.