More seats considered for ballpark Season-ticket cap also a possibility

September 29, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

Orioles president Larry Lucchino said the team is considering ways to get more seats into Oriole Park, but will not likely be able to do so in time for the 1993 season.

In a brief meeting with the media during last night's final home game of the season, Lucchino said club officials toured the new ballpark and identified expansion of the bleacher areas in right-center field as a possibility, but not for next season.

"We've got to be careful because intimacy is one of the things we were striving for," Lucchino said.

Lucchino said the club is "seriously considering" a cutoff of season tickets at its current 25,000 mark to allow for fans to purchase good seats much closer to game time than this year.

The ballpark closed this home season with a run of 59 consecutive sellouts and 67 sellouts overall for the year, but most seats were sold weeks or months in advance.

In an overall sense, Lucchino proclaimed the first season at Camden Yards "a great year," with the Orioles' on-field success, the record 3.5 million attendance, and the "remarkable public acceptance" of the new facility.

"Any one of those might qualify as a successful season," Lucchino said.

"You put it all together and it was a sensational season."

On the subject of the team's on-field play, Lucchino said the Orioles performed "exceptionally well" through most of the season, but acknowledged that the team's collective stamina and endurance wavered in September.

Lucchino said the club intends to make additions and improvements for next season, but wouldn't necessarily jump into the free-agent waters.

"We're not going to radically change our philosophy on free agency. It's not a panacea," Lucchino said.

The club president said that many decisions on next season's roster cannot be made until after the Nov. 17 expansion draft, when the rosters of the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins will be formed.

A list of 15 protected players must be submitted to the commissioner's office by Nov. 10, but team officials are admittedly baffled by the draft, which, for the first time will be fueled by players from both leagues.

"We've done some planning, but this has never happened before that all 26 teams are going to lose [players]," Lucchino said.

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