Miller's Hall vote is for stars to sit Manager rests regulars, O's still rip Blue Jays in Cooperstown exhibition

July 28, 1998|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- The Orioles don't often play in a setting more idyllic than Camden Yards, but yesterday they traveled to upstate New York to get in touch with baseball's mythical roots.

Baseball wasn't really invented in Cooperstown, but the thin legend that Abner Doubleday devised the game here was enough to prompt the placement of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, which eventually led to the construction of nearby Doubleday Field. It was there that the Orioles played a rare intraleague exhibition game against the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday afternoon.

The outcome isn't particularly significant. The Orioles routed the Blue Jays, 7-1, before a sellout crowd of 9,874, but the game does not count in the standings and rated only a cursory appearance by some of the club's top stars.

Manager Ray Miller had sent word ahead that Cal Ripken and Rafael Palmeiro would not participate, which had to come as a disappointment to the Orioles fans who traveled from Baltimore for Sunday's induction ceremony and yesterday's game. But Ripken signed autographs outside the stadium for more than a half-hour before the game, and Palmeiro mingled with fans inside the stadium before making a short visit to the Hall of Fame.

Brady Anderson, B. J. Surhoff and Eric Davis batted in the first XTC inning and turned their positions over to Orioles minor-leaguers. The only major-leaguers to appear for more than an inning were Chris Hoiles, Mike Bordick and Jeff Reboulet.

Anderson put on a show before the game, however, peppering the roofs behind the right-field fence to win a home run derby that also featured Hoiles, Davis and Blue Jays stars Shawn Green and Jose Canseco. Anderson had six in 10 swings to outslug Davis and Canseco, who each hit three.

Miller could not afford to humor the fans at this point in the season. The Orioles slipped to nine games behind Boston in the wild-card hunt with back-to-back losses to Seattle over the weekend, so he wanted to assure that his top stars took some advantage of the club's second day off since the All-Star break.

"I'm just getting five key guys a day off," he said.

Rich Becker and Jim Foster, recently promoted from Double-A Bowie to Rochester, homered against the Blue Jays. Bowie's Radhames Dykhoff, who pitched three hitless innings, got the win.

The Orioles stopped here on the way to Detroit to begin a three-week stretch during which they play 16 of 18 games on the road. The timing may not have been fortuitous, but the players accepted the detour without serious complaint.

"You like to get your days off when you can, but everybody likes to go to Cooperstown," said pitcher Mike Mussina. "This is where you want to go when your career is over. So it's fine, and the fans like it."

Still, in the context of the club's daunting travel schedule, the stopover and the two-hour bus rides yesterday were not exactly opportune.

"It's an inconvenience, but it's nice to come here," Palmeiro said. "I came here with the Cubs to play in this game in 1988. But it's a tough thing for our team to go through. We have had a hard travel year and we're starting a trip, so this just makes it a little tougher."

The Orioles already were well-represented during induction weekend. Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Earl Weaver sat on the dais for the induction ceremony Sunday. And during yesterday's warm-ups, Weaver sat on the bench with a group of his former players -- future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, Mike Flanagan and Elrod Hendricks.

Pub Date: 7/28/98

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