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.

The Bird, the Orioles' mascot, had plenty of elbow room Thursday.
The Bird, the Orioles' mascot, had plenty of elbow room Thursday.

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

seating bowl.

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.Game notes
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.