The Ironman Record Debate… Ripken Is The Real Iron Man

Read the opposing argument from Optimist Prime.

With Brett Favre’s streak coming into the forefront the past few weeks due to his ineffective play and off-the-field indiscretions, it’s brought to the spotlight a discussion centered around two separate ironman streaks, Favre’s ongoing consecutive starts streak that extended to 292 consecutive starts or Cal Ripken, Jr.’s mind-boggling 2,632 consecutive games played streak. Babe Ruthless has asked Optimist Prime and I to debate the merits of both so he can determine which one is more impressive. While there’s no doubting that Favre’s streak is truly amazing, I believe it is Ripken who holds the more extraordinary streak.

Optimist Prime writes about how physical the game of football is. That goes without saying. But I think there is a lot to be said for going through the daily grind of a 162 game season for over 16 consecutive seasons. During this stretch Ripken, Jr. also played 8,243 consecutive innings. Just process that for a minute! That’s amazing. As for the daily grind of a season… you often hear about the dog days of summer. During the streak, the Orioles only made the playoffs three times. You know what that leads to? A lot of meaningless games during those so-called “dog days of summer.” It would have been very easy for Ripken to ask for a day off in late August when the Orioles were suffering through a 100-loss season, such as the one they suffered in 1988.They were double digits games behind first place, and remember, those were the days when there was no wild card to chase. Just imagine the mental grind. Yet, day after day, season after season, the Baltimore Orioles manager had one guarantee in his lineup –that he could pencil in number eight.

Obviously, the schedule is much different for a baseball player, and that works to Ripken’s advantage in this particular debate. Favre, while playing the more physical sport, has a week to let his body recover from any injury. Ripken, Jr. has a game the following day. Playing 162 games over a six month period averages out to 27 games a month. Favre had all week to study the game plan and get ready for the next opponent. Ripken, Jr.’s time for preparation for that night’s pitcher came on game day. Recovery and rehab from being hit by a 98 MPH fastball the night before in the ribs was a day. (And folks, if you think you could do that, try standing in the box with a 70 MPH “heater” coming at you… I did as a 14-year old and that bad boy hurt when it stung my ribs! Trust me, there’s no way you think you can swing a bat or make a throw across the diamond after getting plunked.)

Tom Brady, who plays the same position as Favre, marveled at Ripken, Jr.’s streak. And so do I. Most baseball players don’t even come close to touching 2,632 games played, much less consecutively. It’s even more amazing when you consider the longest active streak belongs to Matt Kemp, who has played in a WEAK 204 consecutive games. Better step it up Mr. Kemp. You’re only 2,428 games behind. I mean, seriously, 204 is barely over a full season. That speaks to the endurance of Ripken and, with apologies to Robert Downey, Jr. and Favre, it shows why Cal Ripken, Jr. truly is the real IRON MAN!

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