Weather swamps teams, umpires Delays, postponements make for difficult series

Sidelight

June 21, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

It's been a tough week for the Orioles and Rangers.

First, the Orioles played long into the night last Saturday in a 16-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals. Then, the Orioles played a "getaway game" with the Royals at 8 p.m. Sunday and sat through an hour-long rain delay in the bottom of ninth, even though the Orioles led 13-4 at the time.

Their flight home did not arrive in Baltimore until around 5 a.m. Monday, and they were out at Camden Yards that afternoon. After rain halted their game that night in the sixth inning with the score tied, most players and coaches ended up staying at the park until after midnight to decide when they should make up the suspended game. Negotiations continued Tuesday and many players and coaches arrived early to the stadium thinking a 4: 05 doubleheader had been scheduled.

Wrong.

The teams played a single game Tuesday, but did not get home until well after 1 a.m. because of a 2-hour, 3-minute rain delay. Everyone was at the park early Wednesday for a doubleheader (this time for real), but again they did not get home until late because the second game was postponed after more than two hours of rain delays.

"It seems like this weather has been following us around," Orioles manager Davey Johnson said. "It just works on you. A lot of the guys don't know what to do with themselves [during the rain delays]. They go from the trainer's room to the kitchen to the clubhouse. They're like rats in a maze. They don't know where to go. They just kept bumping into each other."

So, both clubs were back on the field yesterday morning to get ready for the 1: 35 start. The Rangers had to change flight plans, cancel a golf tournament and find a new hotel. It got so bad that Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez and yesterday's starter Kevin Gross spent Wednesday night sleeping on couches in the clubhouse at Camden Yards.

"We ain't on the plane yet," Gross said after yesterday's game. It was a logistical nightmare for the umpiring crew, too. At first, they thought they would have to fly out of town, but they got clearance to stick around for yesterday's game. And the crew was short-handed, because umpire Jim McKeon had to leave after breaking his finger when it was hit by a foul ball behind home plate Wednesday.

"This rates right up there," umpire Drew Coble said. "I've never seen it rain as much as it did here. We only had a three-man crew. It caused major headaches for the Rangers. I hope it gets better for the weekend."

Orioles bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks has been around pro baseball for four decades and he said he's never seen anything quite like this before.

Hendricks hasn't gotten much sleep lately. He slept only three hours on Monday because he had to be up early for a baseball camp. On Tuesday, he was at the ballpark by noon because when he left the park at about 1 a.m. that morning he thought there was an early doubleheader planned.

"I can't remember anything like this," Hendricks said. "The closest we came was in the early '70s. We came home from the airport in the middle of a hurricane. The driver had to find some pretty interesting routes to get us to the stadium. It took over an hour to get back. This was much worse than that was."

Pub Date: 6/21/96

Let it rain

Here's a list of the rain delays during the four-day Texas Rangers-Orioles series. The series was originally planned for three days, but Mother Nature forced the Rangers to stay in town a little longer.

Monday: The Orioles, Rangers and countless fans endured rain delays of 44 minutes and 1: 17 before the game was finally called. Numerous Rangers were left stranded in their dugout, which was flooded by the downpour.

Tuesday: A game was actually played, but around a 2: 03 rain delay.

Wednesday: The first game of the doubleheader got off without a hitch, but the second game was delayed 44 minutes before it started. After two innings the rains came again and the game was eventually called after a 2: 05 rain delay.

Thursday: After a 33-minute rain delay, the final game of the series finally got under way at 2 p.m.

Total rain delays: 7: 26

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