Umpires have to choose the proper time

BASEBALL

April 11, 1993|By PETER SCHMUCK

Major League Baseball is trying to speed things up this year, but the first visible indication of that at Oriole Park also served as an illustration of what might happen if the umpires get too aggressive in their attempts to keep the games moving.

"If I can't make the Marlins," he said, "who can I make?"

From the home office in Arnold

With the usual apologies to talk-show host and greedy carpetbagging free agent David Letterman, here's my Top 10 list of ways that Major League Baseball can reduce the average length of games:

10. Hold early-season retirement party for Carlton Fisk.

9. Ban playing of "In-a-gadda-da-vida" between innings.

8. Throw out ceremonial first pitch -- completely.

7. Move training rooms closer to home plate.

6. For games involving Blue Jays and Expos, combine America and Canadian anthems into a song titled "Oh, Say Can You See Canada."

5. Stage more "Turn Back the Clock" promotions.

4. Enlarge strike zone to include Utah.

3. Eliminate traditional practice of throwing ball "around the horn unless someone can explain what "the horn" actually refers to.

2. Direct umpires to have second-to-last word every time.

1. Leave it up to Clinton: Middle-class tax cut or two-hour tim limit.

Shelby surfaces

Former outfielder John Shelby has accepted a minor-league managing job. Shelby, who was in the Orioles organization from 1981 to 1987, will manage the Butte Copper Kings of the Pioneer League.

Trivia quiz

What minor-league club owns the distinction of having the longest continuous affiliation with the same major-league team?

Nolan's farewell tour

Future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan continues to insist that his record 27th and final major-league season not be turned into the Nolan Ryan North American Retirement Tour, but you can't like his chances of sneaking through the American League unnoticed.

"That [a farewell tour] wasn't my purpose in announcing this," Ryan told The Dallas Morning News last week. "I don't want it to be any different from any other year. I don't want any distraction for the ballclub or myself. I want to be able to concentrate on winning as many games as we can."

The Rangers feel they have an excellent chance to win their first division title, so club officials figure to be particularly sensitive to anything that might be disruptive.

"I know there's going to be a lot made of it," manager Kevin Kennedy said. "Nolan has tremendous appeal to the fans. We can handle that. We can separate it. We can't get caught up in the emotion of it."

Trivia answer

If you knew this without doing any research, it might be a good time to reevaluate some of your life choices. The Orioles' rookie team in Bluefield, W.Va., has been affiliated with the organization continuously since 1958, longer than any other minor-league club at any level. If you thought the answer was the Rochester Red Wings, you weren't far off. The Red Wings (1961) rank third in length of continuous affiliation.

BIRD KILLERS

Here's a list of the 13 pitchers who have beaten the Orioles at least 20 times, along with their won-lost records against Baltimore:

Pitcher .. .. .. .. .. Record

Whitey Ford .. .. .. .. 30-16

Catfish Hunter .. .. .. 26-24

Mickey Lolich .. .. .. 25-19

Billy Pierce .. .. .. 23-11

Early Wynn .. .. .. .. 21-8

Frank Sullivan .. .. .. 21-8

Frank Tanana .. .. .. ..21-17

Jim Kaat .. .. .. .. .. 21-21

Earl Wilson .. .. .. .. 20-9

Bert Blyleven .. .. .. 20-15

Luis Tiant .. .. .. .. 20-22

Jim Perry .. .. .. .. 20-22

Camilo Pascual .. .. 20-23

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