Mike Flanagan expects to be pitching next season at age 40 after what he labels "one of the most rewarding years of my career."
Flanagan, his career resurrected as a reliever, will become a free agent and will explore the options, but he would prefer to remain with the Baltimore Orioles.
"I'd like to pitch the last pitch at this stadium and the first one in the new one," he said. "I definitely want to be in that last game. But a lot of things have to happen right. If we're behind, obviously the opposition will get the last pitch." The left-hander has 141 of his 167 major-league victories with the Orioles, and with 60 appearances this season, he has become the most-used left-handed reliever here since Tippy Martinez made 65 appearances in 1983.
"Until things slowed down recently, I would have liked to have broken Tippy's record [76 in 1982]," Flanagan said.
He had something to prove after being released by the Toronto Blue Jays on May 8, 1990, after the abbreviated spring training and a five-inning season.
"I had one of my better springs and just kind of fell into the bullpen role," he said. "I've enjoyed it. I knew my arm was resilient. But I think I could still be a starter as long as I'm groomed for it. Where you have a problem is trying to do both."
Flanagan said he is now coming into games at the point he used to leave and that he doesn't "tear myself down" as he did as a starter.
"I had something to find out," he said. "I didn't know if I had anything left. So, I went to spring training as a pitcher, not as a starter or reliever. It was a way for me to find peace with it all.
L "If I had gotten hit around, I'd have known it was the end."
Flanagan has pitched 90 2/3 innings, second to Toronto's Duane Ward among American League relievers.
Oates wants seats
At his Virginia home, John Oates has seats from Wrigley Field, Atlanta's Fulton-County Stadium and old Yankee Stadium. Now he'd like to add more.
"I'd just like to have a couple seats from this stadium," he said. "I put them on my deck."
No batting practice took place on the field yesterday. The Orioles had optional BP under the right-field stands. . . . The Orioles had gone 30-71 against the Red Sox while losing 7 consecutive season series before clinching this year's matchup with their seventh victory Monday night. The Red Sox still are 1 of only 3 teams with a winning record against Baltimore. . . . After breaking the club record for consecutive errorless games with 11, the Orioles now aim for the season record of 93. They have
89 errorless games with 12 to play.
The Orioles announced after last night's postponement that tickets from both Tuesday and yesterday can be used for today's makeup doubleheader, which is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m.
In addition, those tickets can be exchanged for the Oct. 4 and 5 games against the Tigers or any home game next April or May, except Opening Day.
Exchanges may be made at the W-2 advance sale window at Memorial Stadium, at Oriole baseball stores in Washington, Seabrook and York, Pa., or through the mail.
Anyone living more than 75 miles from the stadium may mail the tickets for a face-value refund to: Baltimore Orioles, Ticket Office, Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, Md. 21218.