MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Desmond energized by chat with Ripken

Desmond energized by chat with Ripken

WASHINGTON -- On Sunday, the day before his two-run homer helped the Nationals defeat the Mets, 7-2, shortstop Ian Desmond ran into Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. in the parking lot at Nationals Park.

It was not the first time the two met, but this was a conversation Desmond will never forget.

"It was one of those fluke things, but it was perfect timing," Desmond said.

Ripken, who was doing a game for TBS, was aware that Desmond was having the worst season of his career. Desmond's batting average was hovering just over .200, and the Iron Man wanted Desmond to know that he was not alone. Ripken told Desmond that back in 1993, he, too, was mired in a slump, but he managed to get out of it.

"Through the first [47] games, I was hitting .199, and I finished with a pretty good year. You will be all right," Ripken told Desmond.

Desmond's reaction?

"That gave me a little bit of hope," he said. "He did it and grinded through it, too. It's kind of the mentality I have, but it's nice to have that reassurance. You never know where it's coming from or who is going to be the person that lifts you up. You have to keep your eyes and ears open all the time."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.