Doubleheader thrust upon O's, Rangers AL official makes call after teams fail to agree


June 19, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

It may be remembered as the standoff at Camden Yards.

It was a battle of the wills between the Orioles and Texas Rangers over when to replay Monday's game, a 1-1 tie after rain forced its stoppage after six innings.

It took more than 24 hours to decide, but finally, late last night, the teams announced they'll play a doubleheader beginning at 4: 05 p.m. today.

The Orioles and Rangers could not settle the issue themselves, so Derek Irwin, the schedule-maker for the American League, analyzed each team's remaining games and made the ultimate decision on the doubleheader.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos released a statement after the settlement.

"During these efforts the Oriole players . . . demonstrated a level of cooperation and strong commitment to their fans by offering to replay Monday night's game on Thursday afternoon or evening," the statement said.

"The Oriole organization commends them for setting an example that should be followed by everyone in baseball by putting the fans' interest in the forefront."

Negotiations began Monday evening and went on until nearly 3 a.m. the next morning. The bargaining picked up yesterday and continued long into the night.

What exactly was at stake?

The Orioles said they wanted to offer fans who attended Monday's draw the chance to see a game with an outcome. And the club said it didn't want to inconvenience fans by starting the game in the afternoon.

Both teams are off tomorrow, although the Rangers need to return to Texas to start a series Friday night against the Boston Red Sox. The Orioles wanted to play a night game tomorrow to accommodate the fans. The Rangers would play only during the day.

"I feel like I'm in a political office or something," Orioles manager Davey Johnson said. "Peter wants to give the fans that didn't see an outcome on Monday the chance to get what they paid for. But Texas does not want to play on Thursday."

Before the game, Johnson said the teams would play single games yesterday and today, but would not play tomorrow. But Will Clark, the Rangers' player representative, said minutes later that a doubleheader was still a possibility and nothing was settled.

The confusion began Monday.

Several players left the ballpark thinking they had a doubleheader scheduled for yesterday, only to arrive five hours early for a 7: 35 start. Rangers manager Johnny Oates was one of the misinformed.

"I left a funeral early and busted to get here because [Orioles assistant general manager] Kevin Malone left me an answering message saying we had a 5 o'clock doubleheader," Oates said. "Then I checked my messages this afternoon and they tell me it's a 7: 35 game."

Everyone chatted yesterday.

"I spent five hours on the phone today," Clark said before the game. "I talked to the Players Association. I talked to the umpire crew and they didn't know if we could get a crew for Thursday. Nothing is in cement."

The negotiations clearly had taken a toll on Mike Mussina, the Orioles' player representative.

"My brain is fried," Mussina said. "This is all I've talked about for two days. I'm not talking about it anymore. It should've never come to this."

Ticket update

Anyone who had tickets to Monday night's Orioles-Rangers game can get a full refund or exchange the tickets for one of the future games listed below. Only fans holding tickets for June 19 will be admitted to today's doubleheader.

Fans desiring a refund can bring their tickets to the Oriole Box Office at Camden Yards or mail them to the Oriole Box Office, 333 W. Camden St., Baltimore, MD 21201.

Date(s) ........... Opponent

July 16 ........... Toronto

July 24 ........... Minnesota

Aug. 12 ........... Milwaukee

Aug. 14 ........... Milwaukee

Aug. 26, 27, 28 ... Oakland

Sept. 11 .......... Chicago

Pub Date: 6/19/96

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