FWIW, as a 30 year old (so when I watched Ripken, he was in decline), Cal was my least favorite player in baseball. Guy who had star-power, but during the time I watched him play, didn't play like a star, and was popular because of the streak. I guy in his 30s playing shortstop, even obvious to me at that time, would be better served to his team to take some time off. It came across as selfish to me - a simple "skip, this is stupid, give me a day off on this west coast trip" would be something a "team-first selfless captain" would do, and also would take attention away from himself, which would probably be good for his team. In the same way I thought it was self-promotional for Jeter to announce his retirement in February, the circus that surrounded Ripken in the early-mid 90s is the same thing. (more so, obviously) I can't imagine the Orioles being better off with Ripken chasing Gehrig. They're both selfish. I'd argue Ripken more so. The streak, when you step back and think about it, is kinda stupid. Playing in a baseball game doesn't mean anything noteworthy in itself, but it became a huge deal, and Ripken allowed it to.