Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Sothebys Realty

Wanna buy Cal Ripken Jr.’s house?

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Do you happen to have a spare $12.5 million laying around? No? Well, are you a freakishly gifted shortstop capable of winning a Rookie of the Year Award, two MVPs, a World Series and setting the record for most consecutive games played in baseball history all the while becoming the most beloved figure in Baltimore sports history? No?

Huh, well, that’s tough then, because it probably means you’re never going to live in Cal Ripken Jr.’s six-bedroom, ten-bathroom house, which is listed for sale with Sotheby’s Realty:

Custom built in 1985, then completely renovated again in the late 1990’s, the twenty-five acre luxury estate exemplifies elegance and beautifully captures the essence of refined country living. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase this outstanding property!

That’s pretty short for one of those luxury home writeups, so we just let to the photos do the talking. There are 40 of them at the listing. The best one is probably the kitchen. It has a sign in it that says “Keep it Simple,” which is quite a thing to say about a 25-acre estate with ten bedrooms, but we’ll let that go. It also has a full-sized basketball court, giant home theater, batting cage, baseball-style clubhouse, complete with training room with those little hot tubs, a baseball field and a private pond, which I assume is stocked with fish.

As is the case with most of these sorts of places, it’s so fancy that it’s hard to imagine someone actually living in it, but when you’re Cal Ripken you do whatever the heck you want. He made $70 million+ as a player and countless millions as a media figure, businessman and celebrity pitchman over the years, so it’s not like he was gonna get a split level in Catonsville or wherever.

Remembering “Ball Four” — the TV show

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Almost all baseball fans are aware of Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four.” If not, please log off right this second, find a copy of “Ball Four” and read it. It’s the best baseball book ever written and, even if it’s 46 years old, it will enlighten you about baseball and baseball players in ways you’ll be thankful for the rest of your baseball-watching life.

Not everyone knows, however, that “Ball Four” was turned into a TV show. CBS greenlighted a sitcom about it, written by and starring Bouton himself. It was  . . . not good. It certainly was not popular. After only four episodes aired in the fall of 1976, it was cancelled. Apart from the opening credits and theme song, it has been lost to history.

Thankfully lost if Dan Epstein’s article at Vice Sports is any guide. He recently talked to Bouton and others about the ill-fated sitcom version of the literary classic. Bouton is under no illusions that it was a good show and admits that he was (a) in over his head when it came to writing for TV and acting; and (b) super happy that it was cancelled so he could go back to his real life. Which, among other things, involved an on-the-field major league comeback in 1978.

Go read Dan’s article. And then ask yourself, does what you learned over there and the opening credits below suggest to you that we lost anything by losing the TV version of “Ball Four?”

Josh Reddick has the best t-shirt

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Dodgers outfielder Josh Reddick hasn’t played all that well since coming to the Dodgers — he only has six extra base hits in 144 plate appearances since being traded from Oakland — but he’s dressing wonderfully.

Note the t-shirt he was sporting yesterday. And he’s no hypocrite! Reddick has no sacrifice bunts this year. Sure, he only has nine dingers, but his heart is certainly in the right place: