Friday, May 2, 2008

The Ripken - Costner Conspiracy

There is often a fine line between urban legend and fact. Actually, most urban legends are at least partially based in truth.

At what point, though, does enough evidence surface about a legend to make one truly start to believe it? We think, in the case of The Ripken Conspiracy...right about now.

For those that may not know, as the fever over the Iron Man's consecutive games streak was at its peak, there was a convenient 'blackout' at Oriole Park that evening and the game was suspended.

Legend has it that, prior to the game, Ripken had come home and found his wife, Kelly, in bed with Kevin Costner. Cal was arrested and, therefore, unavailable to play that night. So, thanks to some 'friends' at the ballpark, the streak lived on, so the legend goes.

Both Ripken and Costner have adamantly denied these rumors ever since, of course. Let's take a look at some sources who are still convinced this account is true, however, and you can judge for yourself...



Ripken Talks about the Kevin Costner Myth
(without actually talking about it)

Cal Ripken was on NPR this afternoon, promoting his new book, Get in the Game: 8 Elements of Perseverance That Make the Difference. The host, Neal Conan (who kinda used to work for Ripken), asked the Hall of Fame shortstop a question that had been submitted by a reader.

The reader wanted to know the truth behind a rumor that he said had been floating around Baltimore for years: that the Orioles once canceled a night game against the Mariners because Ripken was M.I.A. and the team didn’t want his consecutive games played streak to come to an end...


2) Sports Conspiracies at

During Cal Ripken's consecutive game streak Cal came home to find his wife in bed with Kevin Costner. Ripken and Costner engaged in a scuffle and the police were called to the scene...


3) Comment on a Post at

"What about the time the Orioles faked a blackout so Cal Ripken's wife could finish banging Kevin Costner (a la Bull Durham turn on the sprinklers rainout)"



Baltimore Orioles officials orchestrated a Camden Yards blackout to keep Cal Ripken Jr.'s playing streak alive after he was injured fighting actor Kevin Costner, who was sleeping with Ripken's wife.



Overheard at the ballpark, 8-24-2004: the Ripkin-Costner story, which won’t die


6) So Happy Together

The Cal Ripken bobblehead and Kevin Costner bobblehead are coincidentally listed for sale, side-by-side at


7) FALSE - According to

The Cost(ner) of Love

Claim: Actor Kevin Costner was caught in bed with the wife of Orioles infielder Cal Ripken, Jr. in August 1997, forcing the Orioles to cancel a game so that the distraught Ripken's consecutive-game streak would not be in jeopardy.

Status: False.

Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2001]

Cal Ripken, Jr. was allowing Kevin Costner, the actor, to stay at his house, following the wrap of "The Postman". One day, Ripken left for Camden Yards to play in a game. Somewhere between his home and the stadium, Cal realized that he had left something back at his house, and turned back to retrieve it...



Ripken denied the rumor (and SNOPES.COM agrees), but UMPBUMP reminds us about the juicy subtext to the probably false story: Ripken supposedly disappeared because he was stewing in jail after pounding Kevin Costner into the ground for seducing his wife...


9) Fan Page at

Cal Ripken Jr. is at the center of one of the wildest sports conspiracy theories out there, one that achieved urban legend status and caused actor Kevin Costner to go on a radio show and discuss the allegations...



[The nail in the coffin?]

Cal told [the Orioles owner] it would be impossible to come in, so there went the streak. The owner told him not to worry, he would take care of it. That night, the game was canceled because of "electrical failure," even though hotels and restaurants that were a part of Camden Yards were fine and running...


So what's the verdict? Well, it seems that the mix is about 50-50 on this one. Of course, we do have one source who was working at the stadium that infamous night...but he's not talking.


Baltimore Orioles News