The lights went out Wednesday night at Camden Yards, but Sherman Kerbel's face was nonetheless visibly red.
Kerbel, the director of facilities management for the Maryland Stadium Authority, was understandably embarrassed by the second light failure of the season during Wednesday's game with the Seattle Mariners.
"We are absolutely confident that this won't happen again," Kerbel said yesterday.
Half of the lights on the south tower, which illuminates the first base side of the field, failed Wednesday. It was the same tower of lights that failed in May when the Oakland Athletics came to town, but a different half of lights, Kerbel said.
Kerbel said it would be "strictly speculation" about what made the lights go out, but the likely candidates included dust on a contactor or an intermittent switch failure.
Kerbel said the switch for those lights was changed and the entire system was checked out.
For the remainder of the season, Kerbel said, the lights will be turned on 20 to 30 minutes earlier than usual, so that any possible failures can be remedied before the game.
"It's a precaution. An expensive precaution, but a necessary one," Kerbel said. Kerbel said the game umpires and the two managers told him Wednesday that there was sufficient light to play.
He said the electrical crew could have gotten the full bank of lights working again, but would have had to turn them all off with no guarantee that they would have come back on.
Joe is a no go
Outfielder Joe Orsulak missed his fourth straight game last night with a sore thumb on his left, or throwing, hand. Orsulak, who hurt the thumb diving for a drive in Kansas City on Saturday, said he would have been available to hit or to pinch run, but not to throw.
"I still have a lot of problems throwing. I don't know how good you are if you can't throw," Orsulak said.
The Orioles will need to open a roster spot for pitcher Richie Lewis, who will be called up from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings to start today's game. If Orsulak's thumb does not rapidly improve, he could be placed on the disabled list.
Manager Johnny Oates was coy about Orsulak's status, offering only that the team's roster status for last night was unaffected.
Lewis, who beat the Boston Red Sox, 4-3, in a rain-shortened game last month, is third in the International League in strikeouts with 136, but his manager, Jerry Narron, said that isn't such hot news.
"He wants to strike everyone out," Narron said. "I think guys have a chance to be better hitters the more pitches they see. I'd like to see him get guys out on the first or second pitch. If he gets ahead, he likes to go for the punch-out."
As a result, Lewis' pitch counts have been high, and he hasn't been completing games.
His 2-1 win over the Toledo Mudhens on Monday was his first complete game since May 16, when he turned in the last of four straight complete game starts.
Oakland first baseman Mark McGwire, the major-league leading home-run hitter, left last night's game in the fourth inning with a strain of his right rib cage.
McGwire, who has 38 home runs, left after swinging and missing the first pitch in his second at-bat.
Later, Oakland reliever Jim Corsi left in the eighth with back spasms on a 3-2 count to Leo Gomez.
The Orioles announced that the remainder of their games can be heard on WILC-AM 900, Radio Boringuen, which broadcasts in the Washington area.
Alex Carrasco, Juan Ramon Rivera and Luis Nieves will broadcast the games on WILC, the area's only 24-hour Spanish-format station.
The station plans to carry pre- and post-game shows with interviews with Hispanic players and other features.
The Orioles join Boston, California, Chicago, Oakland and Texas as American League teams that broadcast games in Spanish.