Baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. knows a thing or two about the All-Star Game scheduled for Tuesday night at Washington's Nationals Park.
He's played in 19 of them, joining baseball luminaries like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Stan Musial.
Powerhouse Politics podcast hosts Jon Karl and Rick Klein caught up with Ripken at Nats Park Tuesday. He was impressed by Nationals star Bryce Harper, who hit 19 home runs in the final round to come from behind and become the Home Run Derby Champ on Monday night. Ripken said he identifies with Harper, who could become a free agent at the end of this season.
"Bryce -- I might be able to relate a little bit. In my free agent year when our contract was uncertain, I let it go into the year one time, and I couldn't keep my mind from going up and down. You know when you get a few hits that seem like contract negotiations increased. Then when you got in a slump, it seems like they went away. So, I allowed the business side to kind of creep in and the harder you try, baseball doesn't work that way."
Klein and Karl spoke with Ripken, the Baltimore Orioles star shortstop and third baseman, right after he presented a check.
Ripken's foundation donated $5 million to build ten Youth Development Parks. Each field will support a Major League Baseball initiative to provide baseball and softball leagues and fields for underserved youth. The multipurpose, synthetic surface fields will be built in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Ripken said he hopes to expose more kids to baseball, no matter what their backgrounds.
"In our programs, we're not looking at finding big league players,” Ripken said. “We're looking at helping kids and we've decided to build fields to create outdoor classrooms."
Karl asked Ripken to weigh in on naming the Gold Glove award after baseball great Brooks Robinson. The Orioles star was all-in.
"I'm with you. He was my hero growing up. He was amazing at third base," Ripkin said. "He earned every one of the Gold Gloves. And so if there's someone that's deserving of naming that award, it's him."
Podcast hosts Karl and Klein could not end the interview without asking Ripken if he would consider wearing a Nats uniform -- as a manager. The Hall of Famer left the door open -- a little.
"You know I've been flattered many times where clubs have inquired about me doing that and for some reason or another, it didn't work out in that phase of your life. And now I'm starting to make different decisions and so I don't know if that's passed me by," he said. "Well, I still have a little bit left in my tank ... I spent my whole life understanding that part of the game. I would need less help if I was in a position to make some baseball decisions."
But one job he knows he doesn't want? "Oh, I've got no plans. I'm not running for president."