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Congratulations, Cal!

Baltimore's favorite son, Cal Ripken, Jr., entered his well-deserved place in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame today, along with former San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn.

Both men were great ball players and, by all accounts, are great people, giving as much back now to their communities as they gave to the game when they played. Gwynn is coach of the baseball team at his alma mater, San Diego State University.

Ripken_hof_plaque And Cal has Ripken Baseball, providing opportunities and training the Orioles' Way (hard work and commitment to fundamentals, all with a classy attitude) to amateurs and minor league baseballers. Now if he could only get his old big league team in for a session ... but I digress.

The hubby and I watched the induction ceremony on ESPN Classic and yes, I teared up. Like probably 65,000 of the 70,000 folks in Cooperstown for the event, we feel like Cal is "ours."

As I mentioned in a previous post, we watched Cal break into the big leagues at now-gone Memorial Stadium, and followed him and the Birds to their new digs at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in the Inner Harbor. When we moved from Maryland to Florida, leaving behind the Orioles was one of the hardest things.

So it was especially nice today to relive a bit of those great days at the ballparks. Thanks, Cal, for all the fantastic memories!

If you missed today's live broadcast, it'll be replayed on ESPN2 at 8 p.m EDT tomorrow, July 30.

Tour_de_france_icon2 Closer to home: Congratulations, too, today to the Discovery Channel Team, which won the Tour de France, and its rider Alberto Contador, who won the individual championship.

Yes, the Tour was rocked this year by doping allegations. But it was still a fun event to watch, not just for the competition (those guys riding bikes up the Pyrenees are crazier than local cyclists tackling Central Texas hills!), but also for the fabulous scenery. If you've got the time, you can relive the Tour with this 875-photo slide show.

The sights to be seen include not just the cyclists and fields of sunflowers, but the inventive displays locals set up in the already harvested fields along the way, as well as the fans in crazy costumes that would put U.S. sports nuts to shame.

The Devil is a regular fixture at le Tour, and this year we spotted three guys in diapers along the road. The next generation Triplets of Belleville, perhaps?

Anyway, good job Team Discovery, which is co-owned by Capital Sports & Entertainment of Austin, the city that also is home to seven-time Tour Champion Lance Armstrong. 

One day the hubby and I are going to take our own tour of a Tour route, visiting all the castles and churches and, of course, the markets and bakeries. But by car, of course!


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