Steinbrenner: It 'was stupidity at its worst'
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Hurricane Isabel and the Baltimore Orioles
teamed to deny Mike Mussina his 200th career victory -- and leave
the New York Yankees in a mood as foul as the weather.
A steady rain and the imminent arrival of winds up to 35 mph
caused Thursday's game between the Orioles and Yankees to be
stopped after five innings in a 1-1 tie.
The individual statistics will count, and Katy Feeney of the
commissioner's office said the game will be made up as part of a
doubleheader in New York on either Sept. 26 or 27.
Umpires called the game after a 44-minute wait -- immediately
after the Orioles botched a chance to score the potential go-ahead
New York, closing in on its sixth straight AL East title, is
five games ahead of Boston in the AL East with 10 games remaining.
The circumstances surrounding the scheduling of the game, and
the fashion in which it ended, infuriated the Yankees.
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner issued a statement that said
the commissioner's office showed "terrible judgment and overall
stupidity" in proceeding with the game.
"Schools, businesses, athletic events -- virtually everything --
was called off," Steinbrenner said. "And for them to proceed was
stupidity at its worst."
The game was rescheduled from 7:05 p.m. to 12:35 p.m. to beat
Isabel's arrival, but the rain began falling shortly before Mussina
threw his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning.
"It's the wrong decision to play unless we were going to play
at 10 in the morning," Mussina said.
Gene Orza, the No. 2 official of players' association, said that
when he discussed with Mussina on Tuesday whether to hold a
day-night doubleheader Wednesday, Mussina was against it. Orza said
he then asked the commissioner's office on Wednesday to postpone
Thursday's game and make it up on the final weekend at Yankee
"The U.S. government, the state government and the city
government had concluded that it was not business as usual, they
basically closed down Baltimore. If they can close down, that's
pretty good indication major league baseball should close down.
"They took a calculated gamble, and the gamble didn't pay
off," he said. "They should have canceled the game last night, as
I suggested to them, and had some monetary compensation worked out
with the Orioles."
Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, did not return a
telephone call seeking comment.
"Nobody talked to us," Yankees manager Joe Torre contended.
So the teams went at it Thursday -- for 1 hour, 27 minutes.
"It couldn't come out with a worse outcome than this," Mussina
said. "They moved the game up, we played five innings and it ends
in a tie. And now we might have to play two anyway."
Minutes after the game was called, the Yankees boarded buses in
an effort to get out of town before the weather worsened. If they
had their way, they would have been on a flight hours earlier.
"They're canceling everything around here -- schools are
canceled, the government left, the Navy's pulling out, and the
Orioles and Yankees are playing baseball," shortstop Derek Jeter
"I wasn't surprised at all," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove
said. "If we would have been New York, I'm sure they would have
done the same thing."
The Orioles would not keep the gate receipts if the game was
played in New York.
The announced attendance was 29,093, but there were only a few
thousand people were in the stands. The Orioles shut off the upper
deck and allowed those who showed up to sit anywhere in the lower
The flags in center field were flapping hard in the stiff wind
by the third inning. At that point, the infield was starting to get
sloppy and some of the fans' umbrellas were blown inside out.
Fortunately, Mussina and Orioles starter Pat Hentgen were both
sharp, which enabled the game to be played at a crisp pace.
New York took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI double by Jason
Giambi, but Hentgen avoided further damage by retiring Aaron Boone
on a popup with two outs and the bases loaded.
The Orioles tied it in the bottom half when Brian Roberts hit a
two-out double and scored on Luis Matos' broken-bat blooper to
The rain intensified in the bottom of the fifth. Pedro Swann hit
a leadoff double, and the Orioles' sense of urgency was hammered
home when Robert Machado, assigned to get Swann to third, struck
out on a two-strike foul bunt.
Roberts then singled to left, and Orioles third base coach Tom
Trebelhorn initially waved Swann home. Trebelhorn then put up the
stop sign -- too late for Swann to make it back to third.
He was tagged out in a rundown, and Matos followed with a
Seconds later, plate umpire Rob Drake called for the tarp.
And so ended Mussina's bid to earn his 200th win against his
former team. Baltimore beat the Yankees on Wednesday night to deny
David Wells his 200th victory.
The career-high hitting streak of Baltimore's Larry Bigbie
ended at nine games. ... Jeter has a 17-game hitting streak at
Camden Yards. ... It's the 12th tie since the Orioles moved to
Baltimore before the 1954 season. ... The previous tie for both
teams was at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 30, 2001, a 1-1 game that
lasted 15 innings.
NYY lead 2-1
- Home Plate Umpire - Rob Drake
- First Base Umpire - Terry Craft
- Second Base Umpire - Dan Iassogna
- Third Base Umpire - Fieldin Culbreth