Baltimore Orioles Manager Cal Ripken Sr. was arrested and charged with drunken driving Wednesday night after being stopped for speeding in the Baltimore suburb of Carney.
Baltimore County police said Ripken, 52, was stopped after being clocked driving 44 mph in a 30 mph zone. He was subsequently taken to Central Station in Towson, where a Breathalyzer test indicated a blood-alcohol level of 0.22 percent. Under Maryland law, a blood-alcohol level of 0.13 percent is considered legally drunk.
Yesterday, Ripken said he regretted the incident and hoped to put it past him as quickly as possible.
"You're not supposed to drink and drive," he said. "Unfortunately, I was driving when I'd been drinking."
He said he wouldn't fight the charges "because there's nothing to fight. It's done, and we go from here."
Ripken was attending an Orioles function with General Manager Roland Hemond and other team officials in York, Pa., yesterday. He had attended similar events Wednesday in Hagerstown, Md., and Martinsburg, W.Va.
Those appearances are part of a series of winter caravans the Orioles sponsor each year to publicize the team. Team officials meet at Memorial Stadium and bus to cities near Baltimore.
Ripken had been dropped at Memorial Stadium Wednesday and was driving to his home in Aberdeen when he was stopped traveling eastbound on Joppa Road near Spring Lane. Police Sgt. Brian Uppercue said Ripken was asked to take a field sobriety test after officers noticed he was "unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred, he swayed a lot and was argumentative."
"I had some cocktails at the function," Ripken said. "I shouldn't have done it. I know better."
Ripken failed the sobriety test, which includes walking in a straight line, reciting the alphabet and standing on one foot without support. He was then taken to Central Station in Towson, where he agreed to take a Breathalyzer test.
Besides drunken driving, Ripken was charged with speeding and following another vehicle too closely. He was released on his own recognizance about 2:20 a.m. after appearing before a court commissioner in Towson. He was issued a summons to court but a trial date has not been assigned.
Ripken begins his second spring as Orioles manager on Feb. 19 and said, "It shouldn't be any distraction to the ballclub. It's an unfortunate thing, and I'm not very pleased. It's an embarrassing situation. However, it happened. It's done, and there's nothing else I can say about it."
A police spokesman said trial dates on such cases are about two months after the arrest, although "his attorneys could ask that it be speeded up." Ripken could be fined as much as $500, but a police spokesman said, "There are so many factors that come into play. If he doesn't have a prior arrest, he'll probably get probation."
Ripken said the incident was his first arrest.
Ripken isn't the first Orioles manager to run into such trouble. Former manager Earl Weaver was arrested two times for drunken driving. One of those was near the scene of Ripken's arrest when Weaver was taken in after failing a field sobriety test and calling a policeman "crater face."