Ryan Ripken is Carving a New Path Outside of Baseball

Since retiring from Minor League Baseball in 2021, Cal’s son has embarked on three new broadcasting endeavors.
—Photography by Matt Roth

Cal Ripken Jr. has long been known as the strong, silent type, definitely not an (Iron)man of many words. But that certainly isn’t true of his son, Ryan.

It’s mid-March and the 30-year-old—who resembles a younger version of his famous father—is recording Episode 61 of his eponymous video podcast in a Harbor East studio, and he’s talking (mostly) sports.

Joined by three co-hosts and a producer who form an irreverent millennial crew, Ripken offers insight into the Orioles’ young star Gunnar Henderson and prized rookie prospect Jackson Holliday. But he and his supporting cast also joke about myriad off-field topics, like a viral story from 15 years ago about a supposed leprechaun spotted in a tree in Alabama.

“We’re way off base here,” Ripken says to his listeners, “but we love it.”

This is part of Ripken’s budding career in modern sports media where anything goes and the economics aren’t great. The Ryan Ripken Show podcast is one of Ripken’s three new, part-time endeavors in broadcasting since he retired from playing Minor League Baseball in 2021.

Unsure what to do after seven combined seasons as a 6-foot-3, left-handed first-baseman in the Washington Nationals’ and Orioles’ organizations, Ripken, who lives in D.C., started providing commentary on local radio and television to gauge a future in media. Now, for a second O’s season, he’s an analyst on 105.7 FM and Fox45 TV.

It’s a big change for him. After he chose to follow his father’s path, determined to play in the big leagues, Ripken admittedly became somewhat guarded. He felt the pressure of obvious comparisons, not just to his father but also his Uncle Billy, who played seven seasons with the O’s, and his grandfather, Cal Sr., who spent 36 years with the O’s as a player and coach.

“That weighed on me heavily,” says Ripken, a 2012 Gilman alum. “I never felt like I could express who I really was. That’s what I hope people see in this next chapter.”

On his podcast, Ripken displays a serious strength in analyzing players’ swings and fielding skills. But he also goofs off and invites friends, like Ravens long-snapper Nick Moore, on for interviews. Ripken wants to show his guests’ genuine personalities—and his own (he says much of his sense of humor comes from his mom, Kelly).

And it’s working; when told that more than 1,000 people are watching his podcast live on X (formerly Twitter), Ripken quips, “In this economy? On a Wednesday night? Are you kidding me?”

Nope, it’s true.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he says. “In the blink of an eye, I’m at a place I didn’t think I’d be.”