Tiebreaker coin flips come up tails for O's In only 2 of 5 scenarios would they be home team

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

September 13, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora and Buster Olney | Jason LaCanfora and Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

Luck was not on the Orioles' side yesterday.

The Orioles did not fare well in a series of coin flips to determine the home sites for possible one-game playoffs. American League president Gene Budig flipped the coins for the Orioles, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox.

Those are the teams in the hunt for wild-card and/or division titles. A toss for home-field advantage between the Orioles and Yankees in a one-game playoff to decide the AL East title, in the event the losing team would not automatically win the wild card, went to the Yankees.

All of the other coin tosses were to decide the home team in a one-game playoff in case two teams tied for the wild-card berth. The Orioles would play host to a one-game playoff with the Yankees (if Boston won the division) or Seattle, but would play at Chicago or Boston.

Orioles general manager Pat Gillick was on a speaker phone with league representatives at the AL offices in New York while the coins were being flipped. Gillick could dictate who could flip coins for the Orioles. Once he asked Yankees GM Bob Watson to flip for the team and also asked league vice president Phyllis Merhige to give the coin a toss.

"I never got my quarter back," Merhige said.

If the Orioles and Yankees tie for the AL East and both are assured of playoff spots, then the Yankees would get the division crown, thanks to New York's better head-to-head record.

Fake autographs?

Orioles outfielder Brady Anderson said he's spotted numerous fake autographs being sold around Camden Yards.

Anderson said he's seen pictures and balls that vendors outside Camden Yards are passing off as his. Anderson said he also suspects that autographs of other Orioles such as Rafael Palmeiro and Eddie Murray are forged as well.

"It's so weak," Anderson said. "They're making money off nothing. Those signatures are not mine."

Shorebirds tie considered

Syd Thrift, the Orioles director of player development, said the organization is strongly considering affiliating with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the Single-A South Atlantic League.

The Montreal Expos pulled their affiliation from Delmarva (Salisbury) this week and moved to Fayetteville, N.C. The Orioles pulled out of their affiliation with High Desert (Calif.) of the Single-A California League. The expansion Arizona Diamondbacks are now affiliated with High Desert.

The Shorebirds have one of the finest Single-A facilities in the country and this season set a South Atlantic League attendance record.

"Of course, we're definitely interested in Delmarva," Thrift said. "I haven't seen the facility yet, but I've heard it's very, very good. We're considering it, but no final decision has been made yet."

76ers give O's Minor lift

The Orioles loved what they saw in Ryan Minor, the University of Oklahoma basketball player who played rookie ball for the Orioles this year. They would love for Minor, projected as a power-hitting third baseman, to play baseball full time.

The Orioles may be getting some help from the Philadelphia 76ers, who drafted Minor in the second round in June. The 76ers signed free agent Mark Davis, a small forward like Minor, and Minor may have to seek a trade elsewhere or play basketball overseas.

Depending on how much they like Minor, the Orioles could offer to increase the $100,000 signing bonus they gave him, as an enticement to play baseball full time.

Krivda encouraging

Lost in the Orioles' 10-inning win over the White Sox on Wednesday was the effort of spot starter Rick Krivda.

Krivda kept the Orioles close in the early going and allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Krivda said he benefited from a trio of starts he made at Triple-A Rochester, which enabled him to regain his control and mechanics.

Orioles manager Davey Johnson said the effort assured him that Krivda will start again on Monday against Milwaukee.

"Rick pitched a heck of a ballgame against a tough lineup," Johnson said. "He did a nice job."

Murray salute planned

The Orioles will hold a Murray tribute on Sept. 22, before the final regular-season game at Camden Yards. The festivities will begin about 1 p.m., with members of Murray's family and home run king Hank Aaron present.

Murray will be named honorary postmaster for the day and fans can bring any item bearing a first-class postage stamp and have it canceled at a booth with a commemorative cancellation.

Around the horn

White Sox DH Harold Baines went 14-for-36 (.389) against his former team this season. Dan Jones, who caught Murray's 500th homer, contacted Fila, a footwear company Murray endorses, about possibly selling the ball to it. Fila officials declined his offer. Former Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez, who played for Johnson in New York, was in the clubhouse yesterday.

Seeds of doubt in Big Apple

A brief sample of what they're saying in New York about the Yankees:

Newspaper: New York Times

Headline: If the ax falls, Watson will not run for cover

Writer: Jack Curry

Mood: Gloomy

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