Orioles, take note. The Chicago White Sox unveiled the spanking new version of Comiskey Park last week, but not without pangs of anxiety and a couple of losses.
After the Sox got spanked, 16-0, by Detroit in their stadium christening Thursday, veteran Carlton Fisk offered up this fastball to Chicago writers:
"The new stadium was a distraction and it will continue to be. This may not feel like home until July."
That should be good news to the Orioles, who play the first night game at new Comiskey tonight (8:05, Ch. 2). Ben McDonald is scheduled to make his first appearance of the season for the Orioles. Alex Fernandez (1-1, 7.56) will pitch for Chicago.
After the opening rout, the White Sox lost their second game by a more conventional 2-1 score in 12 innings on Saturday. Sunday they claimed their first win there, beating the Tigers 5-4 with a two-out rally in the ninth.
Yesterday's rainout forced the Orioles to revise their pitching rotation for the three-game series in Chicago. Dave Johnson (1-1, 5.23), with five days rest, will oppose Sox ace Jack McDowell (2-1, 3.48) tomorrow night (8:05, Ch. 2). On Wednesday, Jeff Ballard (1-1, 6.00) faces new White Sox pitcher Charlie Hough (0-0).
The Orioles will try to avenge two season-opening losses to the White Sox, when McDowell and Greg Hibbard shut down Baltimore for 9-1 and 2-0 wins.
Johnson said he relished the idea of pitching in Chicago's new stadium, but "since I've seen them on TV a couple of times, it's not a big deal."
His impressions from those TV glimpses?
"I heard it was a hitter's park, but I first heard it was a pitcher's park," Johnson said.
Tonight the Orioles will take their own measure of it.
* IMPRESSING THE BOSS: Rookie Steve Decker ensured his spot on the Giants for a few more days, homering with two outs in the ninth inning as San Francisco beat Houston 1-0.
* HITTING ROCK BOTTOM: Want to lift a .116 average? Drop the Rock off it. At least that's what the White Sox's Tim "No Longer Rock" Raines is hoping. "Rock" has a .301 lifetime average as Tim.
* STUCK CLUTCH: Milwaukee's Robin Yount has hit two game-winning homers in extra innings already this year after having none since 1983.
ORIOLES ON DECK
VS. WHITE SOX
* WHEN: Today, 8:05 p.m.
(Ch. 2 and 20, WBAL-AM 1090, WTOP-AM 1500)
* WHERE: Comiskey Park.
* SEASON SERIES: White Sox lead 2-0.
* STANDINGS: The Orioles (4-6) are tied for fifth place in the AL East with Cleveland, 2 1/2 games behind Toronto. The White Sox (7-3) are on top of the AL West, a half-game ahead of California and Oakland.
* PITCHERS: The Orioles' Ben McDonald (0-0, 0.00) vs. the White Sox's Alex Fernandez (1-1, 7.56).
* EXTRA BASES: The White Sox snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over Detroit yesterday, their first win at the new Comiskey. Prior to their series with the Tigers, the Sox had won six straight . . . The Birds have dropped three of four . . . Cal Ripken continues to lead the Orioles' attack, batting .400 in the past eight games . . . Glenn Davis left Saturday's 1-0 loss early due to a sore hamstring, but should be in the lineup tonight.