Following his retirement on October 6, 2001, Ripken quickly made the transition to owner by purchasing the Utica Blue Sox, which he moved to Maryland and renamed the IronBirds in time for the start of the 2002 season. Just five-miles from Cal's hometown, Ripken Stadium is the crown jewel in a collection that also includes Charlotte Sports Park and Lake Olmstead Stadium. "We draw quite a bit of fans," says the eight-time silver slugger, "and our MLB-spec natural grass means the field conditions are really good for the guys." Travelers commuting along the I-95 corridor are no doubt familiar with this miniature Camden Yards: Complete with a reduced-sized B&O Warehouse, the Birdhouse abuts I-95's southbound lanes, making for a unique rest stop opportunity for drivers moving from Maine to Florida. Just buy your tickets ahead of time: The IronBirds are one of only two teams in the history of professional baseball to sell out every single one of their home games.
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