O's front office angry, 2-1, at Gaston ALL-STAR GAME July 13 1993 Baltimore

MUSSINA WARMS UP DEBATE

July 15, 1993|By Ken Rosenthal | Ken Rosenthal,Staff Writer

Even the Orioles' front office is divided over American League manager Cito Gaston's refusal to use Mike Mussina in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's All-Star Game.

Assistant general manager Frank Robinson said he was disappointed by the crowd reaction, but club president Larry Lucchino and GM Roland Hemond said yesterday they were as livid as any fans.

Lucchino, a partner in a Washington law firm, expressed his anger as best he knows how Tuesday night -- by engaging his Toronto counterpart, Paul Beeston, in an argument.

"I was outraged," Lucchino said yesterday. "I saw him at the [post-game] reception. I said, 'What is this? What's going on?' He said, 'He did the right thing, he did the right thing.' He had this twinkle in his eye."

So, Lucchino appealed to a higher authority.

"I asked a lawyer from Major League Baseball to mediate," he said. "I said, 'I'll make the case for Mussina. Beeston can make the other case.' But the mediator wouldn't get in the middle of it."

Maybe Lucchino should just debate Robinson, who said after the game that the entire incident was overblown.

Robinson was upset the Camden Yards fans spent the ninth inning chanting "We want Mike" and booing Toronto reliever Duane Ward.

"I'm disappointed in the fan reaction. I don't think it's right," said Robinson, who played in 11 All-Star Games and was honorary co-captain of this year's AL team. "I'd like to have seen Mussina get in. But there was no reason for that. It's an All-Star Game, an exhibition."

Which in Hemond's eyes only made it more imperative for Mussina to have played.

"I lost my cool," he said. "I decided Cito Gaston will never be a movie producer. It wouldn't be a very good script. I'm sure [the late] Bill Veeck did a couple of flips on that one."

Veeck, of course, was a maverick owner renowned for his promotional flair. It stands to reason that a man who once used a midget as a pinch hitter would have been furious that a pitcher from the hometown team wasn't used in the All-Star Game.

According to Hemond, assistant general manager Doug Melvin offered the best solution.

Melvin said Gaston should have allowed Ward to get the first two outs -- and then instructed Orioles manager Johnny Oates, a member of the AL coaching staff, to make the pitching change himself.

Gaston did no such thing.

And Mussina never took the mound.

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