Kirk grades Baysox stay at Memorial Stadium as a Double-A

Minor-league notebook

June 27, 1993|By Kent Baker Red Wings: Bats are big

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Peter Kirk said this week that if one of his minor-league clubs "needs a temporary home again, we wouldn't hesitate to consider" a return to Memorial Stadium.

The Bowie Baysox owner has been satisfied with the experience of the Double-A franchise so far this year at the storied 33rd Street park abandoned by the Orioles after the 1991 season.

"On a temporary basis, I think we've shown we can be successful," said Kirk. "We've done a lot of cross promotion with the Orioles, we've been a good spot for rehabilitating players and we've been able to do a large number of community fund-raisers.

"We have given players an opportunity to play in a big-league park and spotlighted minor-league baseball to a lot of people who had never seen it."

The Baysox were forced to locate a home site when construction of their new stadium in Bowie was delayed for almost a year.

Agreements to begin construction on the 8,000-seat park were reached June 15.

With only two months to promote, there was a big question whether the team could draw fans sufficiently to offset the expense associated with playing at Memorial Stadium.

Kirk said that the bottom line cannot be determined until after the season's attendance has been totaled but that the Baysox need to average roughly 3,000 to 5,000.

"Whether we make money, lose money or break even, our staff agreed to do our best to make this a first-class operation," he said. "Everybody seems pleased with what we're doing on a one-year basis."

Kirk is awaiting developments in Rochester, N.Y., which must build a stadium to conform to Triple-A standards or risk losing the Red Wings.

"There is nothing to prevent us from getting another Triple-A team if Rochester builds a new stadium. A lot of changes are brewing in the majors, and they will filter down to the minors," Kirk said. "There will be a lot of recycling of affiliations."

Stay tuned. Kirk is never finished moving.

NOTES: Jim Dedrick's 5-0 victory over the Eastern League-leading Harrisburg Senators on Tuesday marked the first complete-game win by a Baysox pitcher. Their other route-going performances -- two by Kevin Ryan, one by Erik Schullstrom -- have come in seven-inning defeats. . . . Of Bowie's 48 home runs, 30 have been with the bases empty. Conversely, the opposition has 35 homers, 17 with none on. Five more men have been aboard overall when Baysox opposition has homered. . . . Cesar Devarez, whose throwing arm is highly regarded in the organization, has caught seven of 10 runners trying to steal. . . . Brad Tyler has 12 triples and has a shot at the Eastern League record of 28 set by Albany's Al Gionfriddo in 1944. ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Triple-A Rochester Red Wings have been in first place for more than 40 straight days on the strength of their hitters and the weakness of the rest of the division.

They went 2-9 in a stretch before Friday and gained a game on the second-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons.

Halfway through the season, manager Bob Miscik never knows whether he'll get the lady or the tiger when he goes to the bullpen. If the Orioles were to need help, they might not find it at Rochester.

Mike Cook, who won the battle of attrition for the closer's job, has nine saves, but has blown several chances for more. Ten of 25 inherited runners have scored against the right-hander. Cook probably has the best stuff of the relievers -- his curveball has major-league movement -- but he doesn't throw enough first-pitch strikes to get hitters to chase it.

* John O'Donoghue, who was called up by the Orioles to start today's game against the New York Yankees, is 1-3 with a no-decision after going 5-0 in his first 10 appearances. His only victory since May 27 is a 5-0, seven-inning complete-game victory over the Syracuse Chiefs on June 11. In the other four starts during his slump, O'Donoghue has given up 31 hits in 20 innings and has a 7.20 ERA during that stretch. Miscik said there is nothing physically wrong with the left-hander, but that he needs better command of all four of his pitches. "He has to keep them out of the middle of the plate."

Despite his other troubles, O'Donoghue continues to strike batters out, collecting 14 while walking six during his slump. He ranks fourth in the league in strikeouts with 83.

* After nearly a year of disagreement over whether a new stadium was needed and if it was, where it should be built, the city and county governments and the Red Wings have agreed on a proposal for a new ballpark. The only sticking point is the state, which is being asked to contribute $15.25 million of the $37.3 million in costs. But a spokesman said the state may pitch in only $7 million.

But local officials aren't letting that detail spoil their plans for a 12,500-seat stadium. Rochester's mayor and the Monroe County executive, who had been at odds, came together with the help of local business leaders. The Red Wings had chosen a suburban Rochester site before the downtown proposal was offered at the last minute.

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