Orioles ace Mike Mussina drove from his Pennsylvania home to accept an award at the Tops in Sports banquet Friday night, and to sign a few autographs at the team's FunFest yesterday. But he mixed in some business with pleasure.
Mussina, eligible for free agency after the 1997 season, had an interesting exchange with Orioles general manager Pat Gillick during the awards presentation Friday. Gillick complimented Mussina, both as a pitcher and a person, and expressed hope that Mussina could provide more Orioles' success in the future.
Mussina responded by saying that his first five years with the team were great, and that he hopes for the same "the next five years."
Mussina is seeking a five-year contract. Then, yesterday morning, Mussina had breakfast with the person who must agree to any contract -- Orioles owner Peter Angelos. Neither could be reached for comment last night.
Mussina is eligible for salary arbitration, but both sides would like to complete a deal by the start of spring training, Feb. 14.
Ticket sales set record
Despite cold weather and price increases, the Orioles sold more than 65,700 tickets yesterday, a club record for the first day of individual game sales.
The Camden Yards box office closed at 5 p.m., but because phone-charge lines and some ticket outlets stayed open until 9 p.m., a final count was not available.
The record of 64,700 had been set last year.
Many of the fans who bought tickets at Oriole Park also got autographs from players, toured the clubhouse and talked with Gillick and manager Davey Johnson at the Orioles Family FunFest, which drew 6,400.
The FunFest will conclude today with events from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under, with proceeds supporting the Orioles Charitable Foundation. The box office also will be open from noon to 5 p.m.
Orioles director of public relations John Maroon said he didn't hear any complaints about the Orioles' decision to increase ticket prices between $2 and $5.
"I think people understand the message we're trying to get out to them, that to keep a championship-quality club, the ticket increase is necessary," Maroon said. "I think people are willing if you take that money and put it back into the people on the field."
Pub Date: 1/19/97