Flanagan's stadium finale depends on East race
The pitching plans for the Baltimore Orioles' final home game are not set, but it appears that left-hander Mike Flanagan will be the last Orioles pitcher to take the mound at Memorial Stadium.
The only thing standing in the way is the American League East race.
"I can't offer him that," manager John Oates said. "I have to wait and see what the standings are."
The Detroit Tigers remain within striking distance of the first-place Toronto Blue Jays, so it is conceivable that the game could have a bearing on the outcome of the division race. If so, Oates said he would make no concessions to ceremony.
But Oates has discussed the situation with Flanagan, who might have been given consideration as the closing-day starter if he had not stated a preference for finishing the game.
Bill Ripken makes error
Bill Ripken was charged with his first error in 54 games las night in the seventh inning. He tried to make a difficult play on a ball hit behind second, and his throw sailed over first baseman Randy Milligan's head. Ripken had not made an error since May 19.
Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent visited Memorial Stadium last night and briefed reporters on the ownership meetings that are taking place this week at the Harbor Court Hotel.
Vincent said that the proposed sale of the Orioles probably will not be discussed, because nothing has changed since club owner Eli S. Jacobs announced that he would consider offers for the team.
"Ordinarily, that wouldn't come up until the matter had come up to the ownership committee," Vincent said. "I don't see anything different in Houston [where the Astros also are for sale] or Baltimore. I don't see it coming up."
Vincent said that the meetings probably wouldn't produce any "earth-shattering" news. The rocky financial state of the Seattle Mariners will be discussed. So will the recent amateur draft, and the record $1.55 million contract the New York Yankees gave to No. 1 draft choice Brien Taylor.
The meetings officially began last night, but most of the important activity will take place today and tomorrow.
Vincent on stadium
This apparently will not be Vincent's final visit to Memorial Stadium. He said he plans to attend the final game on Oct. 6.
"I have a great fondness for this stadium," Vincent said. "I came here a lot when I worked in Washington. I brought my kids here. Saw Earl Weaver in action. It isn't easy explaining that to a 7-year-old."
Vincent has not toured the new stadium yet, but he got a good look at it from the outside yesterday.
"It looks magnificent," he said. "The brickwork is spectacular. It really looks lovely."
Orsulak starts on bench
Outfielder Joe Orsulak was supposed to get another night off because of his sore shoulder. He didn't start but was used as a pinch hitter in the seventh.
"He's playable," Oates said before the game. "I just want to give him another day off."
The Orioles will celebrate a couple of Memorial Stadium moments Friday night. It was 29 years ago Friday that Washington Senators pitcher Tom Cheney struck out a record 21 Orioles in a 16-inning game on Sept. 12, 1962. The club also will celebrate the anniversary of Frank Robinson's 500th home run, which took place on Sept. 13, 1971. Fans will receive a commemorative poster of Robinson.
C Jeff Tackett will make his major-league debut tonight as the battery mate for Mike Mussina. Tackett threw out 49 of 94 runners trying to steal this year for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, leading the International League. . . . Only about 1,400 scattered single seats remain for tonight's game, which is 1 of the games for which season ticket holders can exchange unused tickets. . . . Monday night's shutout victory was the eighth of the year for the Orioles, the most since 1984. But only 2 of them have been complete-game efforts -- Monday night's 5-hitter by Bob Milacki and a 7-hit shutout by Jose Mesa on May 6.