It was just another Yankees-Orioles game at Camden Yards.
I bought tickets early in the season to make sure I could get good seats, especially since so many Yankees fans usually made their way down I-95 to root for their team.
I purchased a few extra tickets and figured I would invite my friend and his dad, lifelong Orioles fans, and my wife's father, a die-hard Yankees fan. As for me, I grew up in New York but lived in Howard County, so I was conflicted in supporting the team I grew up with vs. the team that represented the area I loved so much.
We waited for months and then went to the game as planned.
The date was Sept. 20, 1998. The Orioles were out of the race, unable to defend their American League East title, and the Yankees were on their way to one of the best seasons in baseball history. An eerie silence fell upon Camden Yards about 30 minutes before the game started. The scoreboard did not appear to be working, and the lineups were not listed or announced.
"How strange," I remember saying to my friend.
There had been a lot of talk late that season that Cal would finally take a day off, that the time had finally come.
"Impossible," my friend said. "What are the chances that it will happen tonight?"
"Very good, actually," I said. "It's the last homestand of the year. It's been 16 years. We might be a part of history tonight."
And part of history we were. The game started, and Ryan Minor came out to play third base. The game had started before anyone realized what was happening.
Then, a pause -- one of the greatest people ever to play the game emerged from the dugout to let us know it was over.
2,632 games in a row ended that night. A baseball memory I will cherish forever.
Baltimoresun.com is looking for Orioles fans to write about their favorite Cal Ripken Jr. memories. Entries can be personal anecdotes, memories of Ripken's top performances or thoughts on what he meant to the Orioles and baseball. Fan articles will be published leading up to Ripken's Hall of Fame induction. Please limit submissions to 700 words maximum. E-mail your submission to email@example.com and include your name and phone number for verification purposes.