O's, Yankees washed out in series opener Doubleheader set for tomorrow after rainout

Play halted in first

Teams wait 2: 45 before postponement

September 18, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- The American League East showdown turned into a splashdown last night at Yankee Stadium, as Game 1 of the critical three-game series between the Orioles and New York Yankees was postponed after a 2-hour, 45-minute rain delay.

The teams will play one game tonight at 7: 35, and two games tomorrow -- likely a twi-night doubleheader. Pitching matchups for the doubleheader were uncertain last night.

Today's game, however, could be in jeopardy because additional showers were forecast for last night and today.

The Orioles trail the Yankees by three games in the division, with 13 games remaining for each club. The Orioles lead the wild-card race by 3 1/2 games over the Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners. The White Sox lost last night at home to the Cleveland Indians, 9-4, and Seattle played a late game against the visiting Texas Rangers.

The Orioles batted in the top of the first inning last night but did not score on Yankees starter David Cone. Roberto Alomar hit a one-out double off the left-field wall but was left stranded.

Orioles starter Mike Mussina didn't get to complete the bottom of the first before the tarp was pulled on the field with runners on first and second and two outs.

Plate umpire Joe Brinkman said he finally decided to call the game after walking on the field and determining that the outfield was "brutal," and unsafe to play on.

"There was 4 inches of water in left field and it could possibly rain more [last night], and there's no place to go with it," Brinkman said after calling the game. "They said they'd have to RTC push the water off the field and that would take at least an hour-and-a-half. That puts us after 12: 30 or something like that. The way it is right now, someone could easily get hurt."

It rained all day in New York yesterday, and was misting lightly around game time. So Brinkman figured they could get the game in. He said he umpired a game in Boston under similar conditions recently, and the game was completed.

Brinkman said he got a call from the American League office yesterday afternoon asking him to "do whatever you can" to get the game in, but said he did not have contact with the league or either team during the delay. A joint effort between the umpires and the home team is necessary to call a game when it's the final series of the year between contending teams, Brinkman said.

"We did everything we could," Brinkman said. "We exhausted everything we possibly could. This time of the year you'll probably start in a drizzle where you wouldn't in April, May or June. It's just that way in a pennant race. . . . But you got to make a decision sooner or later.

"I don't have any problem with anything I did, no. Like I said, I thought we could get through it. That misty rain thing, you can get nine innings in with that."

Pub Date: 9/18/96

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