Orioles conservative, but 'open-minded' Club, players react to possible changes Spring Training

Orioles notebook

March 06, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

BRADENTON, Fla. -- When it comes to interleague play, realignment and expanded playoffs, the Orioles have "an open mind," though they are still aligned with baseball's conservatives, team president Larry Lucchino said yesterday.

He also predicted that the Executive Council would move slowly and not make changes all at once.

The proposed changes were tentatively approved at the owners' quarterly meeting in Phoenix on Thursday.

"Our position is that we have an open mind to changes, particularly ones that come to us from our fans," Lucchino said from his office in Baltimore.

"But, make no mistake, the Orioles are on the traditional side of center in these matters, and I think everybody in baseball knows that.

"However, we are keeping an open mind. It's still very early in the process.

"It was more of a discussion process than a hard vote," Lucchino said of the meeting, during which teams were asked for their preferences if certain matters had to be voted on now.

JTC "Our feeling is to move carefully, don't try to do too much too fast. Some [changes] are more acceptable than others," said Lucchino, who didn't elaborate.

"Sometimes you have to sit back and re-examine the issues. This might be one of those times. There might be some changes, but you won't see all that have been discussed. And you certainly won't see them all in one fell swoop."

Most of the Orioles said they hadn't thought about the proposed changes enough to form an opinion. But they generally seemed to be in favor.

"I really haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion," pitcher Rick Sutcliffe said. "But I think if that's what the fans want, then it's the way to go."

Shortstop Cal Ripken likewise said he hadn't given any consideration to the proposals. "I don't know enough about it," he said. "Give me a day to consider it."

Second baseman Harold Reynolds was the most enthusiastic about the possibility of interleague play.

"I think that's great," he said. "It would be a lot of fun. I don't get a chance to see those guys [in the National League]."

Valenzuela makes his pitch

Fernando Valenzuela pitched batting practice for 10 minutes yesterday morning at the Orioles' St. Petersburg training complex.

"He threw strikes," said pitching coach Dick Bosman, who otherwise had little to say in appraisal.

Bosman said he thought it would be about a week before Valenzuela appeared in an exhibition game. "I would think he'd want to throw batting practice at least once more and then throw once on the sidelines," Bosman said.

7+ "We'll wait until he gets comfortable."

Bradenton adds finishing touch

The city of Bradenton unveiled a revamped McKechnie Field, a $3.5-million project that was completed in less than six months.

The old park would have been 70 years old this spring, and two years ago the Pittsburgh Pirates threatened to move their spring training camp unless vast improvements were made. The playing field was refurbished in time for last year's exhibition season, but the rest of the reconstruction didn't begin until October.

The stadium was refurbished from the ground up without disturbing the old-style look, while increasing the capacity from 4,200 to 6,562.

More Pirates than anyone else

Yesterday was the first of five exhibitions the Orioles will play against the Pirates, the most against any opponent this spring. The teams will meet in five cities, winding up at Camden Yards and RFK Stadium in Washington.

Tickets for the game at Camden Yards are on sale at all of the Orioles' ticket outlets.

The Thompson-Musial team

Chuck Thompson, the Orioles' radio announcer who recently was named to the broadcast wing of the Hall of Fame, was introduced to the crowd during yesterday's game.

Thompson and Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial will participate in first-pitch ceremonies before today's game against Louis in St. Petersburg.

And here's the . . . pitchers

Mike Mussina, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson, Todd Frohwirth and Gregg Olson are the Orioles' scheduled pitchers for today. The Cardinals will use Donovan Osborne, Les Lancaster, ex-Oriole Paul Kilgus, Fidel Compres and Lee Smith.

Ben McDonald and Bob Tewksbury will be the starters when the teams play again tomorrow at Al Lang Stadium.

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