The Pittsburgh Pirates canceled their Class A exhibitions with the Orioles yesterday, prompting concern within the O's organization that the team's minor-league spring exhibitions also would be lost.
But, as Orioles general manager Roland Hemond discovered, all minor-league exhibitions are on hold until March 15, by order of the Baseball Operations Committee. Gord Ash, general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, said that he had been told the same thing.
One baseball executive, who asked that he not be identified, said the reason for the cancellations "is obvious. They want as few options as possible for the minor-leaguers. It's their way of trying to get them to play in the replacement games."
Three representatives from Major League Baseball, including Bill Murray, the executive director of Baseball Operations, toured a possible ballpark site in Washington yesterday.
Washington is one of a number of cities, including Tampa/St. Petersburg, Orlando and Phoenix, being considered for baseball expansion. Jim Small, manager of media relations for Major League Baseball, would not reveal the location.
Around the horn
A message with special meaning for Orioles manager Phil Regan arrived yesterday, from the first college team to inquire about playing the O's in an exhibition. It was from Andy Chopp, a former shortstop for and current coach of Grand Valley State, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Chopp played for Regan, who coached Grand Valley State from 1973 to 1982. "We might be able to get a game together," said Regan, smiling. "We might hear from a few more colleges . . . once they hear about our situation." Managing against Grand Valley State, Hemond joked, "would be a must-win game for Phil." . . . Regan is monitoring the labor talks like most baseball fans -- through newspaper coverage and television. "There are good signs coming out of it," Regan said. "They're talking and they're cordial and they're friendly. We're getting to the point where you'd really like to have the players in here.' . . . Frank Seminara pitched two solid innings in intrasquad play yesterday, strengthening his bid to make the Orioles as a middle reliever. Like shortstop Jeff Huson, Regan said, Seminara's chances of winning a major-league job increase as the strike goes on because when the major-leaguers return, he'll be in shape and they might not be. . . . The Orioles' Triple-A and Double-A players will work out this morning here, then relocate to St. Petersburg. . . . Two pictures adorn the cover of the American League Red Book. On the left, Cal Ripken. On the right, Lou Gehrig.