The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Cal Ripken Jr.'s bout with prostate cancer: a reminder for all adult males

It was revealed this week that Cal Ripken Jr. underwent successful surgery back in March for prostrate cancer. It serves as a reminder that all men should take the initiative to get routine tests with their physician. It can strike even the most famous of “Iron Men” like Ripken.

With the possibility of limitations of surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ripken opted to have his operation shortly after his diagnosis in February. Now 60 years old, Ripken’s surgery removed his prostrate where all the cancer was contained and is deemed to be cancer-free. The baseball legend will fortunately be able to resume a normal life. Ripken’s father Cal Ripen Sr., a long-time coach and manager at both the major-league and minor-league levels, had died of lung cancer in 1999.

During his playing career, the younger Ripken’s normal life consisted of suiting up every day and taking his infield position with the Baltimore Orioles. The 25th anniversary of his record-setting consecutive game streak is coming up in September. Even during this unusual season of fan-less games, there’s sure to be some type of commemoration of the Hall of Famer’s longevity streak. It’s one of those records that won’t likely ever be broken.

Since his retirement in 2001, Ripken had remained active in baseball, although not associated with the majors. He has bought three minor-league clubs. He is CEO and president of Ripken Baseball, Inc., whose goal is to grow the interest in baseball. The company sponsors baseball camps and tournaments, as well as designs of ball fields for all levels of baseball competition.

In an August 20 article in The Athletic, Ripken said, “As baseball players…all the medicals are provided for you. You get your physicals. You do what you’re told and you’re healthy and everything is fine. But when you retire, that responsibility falls on you to get a test. Your regular physicals. And sometimes, we as guys, avoid that, or think, ‘Well, we’ll just to go to the doctor when we need to.’” Ripken has generally kept his personal life private in the past but hopes making his situation public can convince men to undergo regular screenings.

There are several publicly available cancer awareness programs today. One baseball-related is Fans for the Cure. Ed Randall, a long-time sports radio and TV personality, is a spokesperson for the organization that promotes prostate cancer awareness and education. For the past few years, the non-profit organization has made appearances at every minor-league ballpark to bring attention to male adults the need for routine testing for prostrate cancer. (As a side note, I had the privilege of being interviewed on the radio twice by Randall when my Family Ties book was published in 2012. At the time, he had radio talk shows on WFAN Radio in New York City and the MLB Radio Network on Sirius XM Radio.) For more information about Fans for the Cure, click here.

Ripken is one of the truly “good guys” of baseball. Let's hope he continues to enjoy good health.

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