Selig: Games to resume on Monday

Postponements added to end of season

Terrorism Strikes America

September 14, 2001|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

In response to the terrorist attacks in New York City and suburban Washington, Major League Baseball will wait until Monday to resume its season, with the postponed games added to the end of the schedule.

This plan, which was announced yesterday by commissioner Bud Selig, delays the start of the World Series until Oct. 27 and could push its finish to Nov. 4 - the latest date in baseball history.

"There was no constituency whose opinions were not considered," Selig said. "Now it's time to move forward. I hope the timing is right. I think it is."

When it was suggested that resuming play would aid in the nation's healing process after attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Selig said: "That would be presumptuous. The only thing I've said in the past is that baseball is a social institution. I believe that when you're a social institution, you need to be responsible and help when you can. I`m just hopeful that with all that we're doing, we can play a role."

Six days' worth of games will be tacked onto the schedule, which was supposed to end on Sept. 30. Because of a makeup doubleheader, the Orioles have seven games at Camden Yards, assuring that Cal Ripken will say his final goodbyes at home rather than Yankee Stadium. San Diego's Tony Gwynn also will play in front of his home fans before retiring.

"I believe in the sanctity of a 162-game schedule, so we're going to play an extra week," Selig said.

Selig's decision also allows the National League's hotly contested wild-card race to run its full course. San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs are within 1 1/2 games of each other.

Not that players have been occupied with the standings.

"I don't care about the pennant race," said Philadelphia's Scott Rolen, whose team is 3 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East and 4 1/2 behind San Francisco for the wild card.

"I don't care about the Braves and Phillies. I hope nobody cares about the Braves-Phillies' series. Resume play or don't resume play, I don't really care. We're 3 1/2 games back, but back of what at this point?"

By not canceling any games, Selig has given the Giants' Barry Bonds a better chance of eclipsing Mark McGwire's single-season home run record of 70.

Bonds, who has 63 homers with 18 games remaining, worked out in Houston but refused to talk to reporters. McGwire, who was in Milwaukee with the Cardinals, said what mattered now was freedom's future, not baseball. His eyes filled with tears while expressing how sports seemed trivial compared with the thousands of lives lost.

Selig said Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs will make "substantial contributions" to disaster relief, and players will wear a U.S. flag on the back of their jerseys. A moment of silence will be observed at every ballpark, and miniature flags will be given to fans attending the first game. The Orioles don't play again until Tuesday in Toronto.

Phillies manager Larry Bowa suggested that baseball donate the money from its first games to the victim's families.

"We all have a good living here. We all make good money. Obviously, you get wrapped up in your own little world. Something like this brings you back to reality," Bowa said.

"We can help the healing process by helping the families that had loved ones killed by taking the field and not playing for ourselves, but playing for those kids who lost their moms and dads."

In anticipation of the schedule resuming on Monday, Selig said Major League Baseball has consulted with the FBI, local security advisers and stadium operations personnel while conducting a complete review of stadium security measures.

"Security has always been a paramount concern of baseball," executive vice president Sandy Alderson said in a statement. "Obviously, in light of the tragic events of this week, we have redoubled our effort in all respects."

Today's postponements raised the total to 60, a number that will increase to 91 through the weekend, the most since World War I caused most of the final month of the 1918 season to be canceled.

At least two teams had started traveling to the cities where they were supposed to play tonight. The Pittsburgh Pirates left their ballpark in buses at 11:15 a.m. yesterday en route to Chicago. The Phillies heard about the postponements 90 minutes after leaving Atlanta on four charter buses headed to Cincinnati. They intended to stay there overnight before returning to Philadelphia today.

Players seemed relieved that Major League Baseball, like the National Football League, didn't resume its schedule until after the weekend.

"To me, baseball is just another part of life that doesn't exist at this point," the Cleveland Indians' Kenny Lofton said. "You have people who have to deal with the loss of family in tragic death."

"If I were a fan," Atlanta's Brian Jordan said, "I would not be sitting in no stadium watching a baseball game."

"My thoughts are in another place right now," the Braves' Chipper Jones said. "I'm not a couch potato, but I sat for 12 to 14 straight hours and watched what was going on on the TV. I really don't feel like playing right now."

Sun staff writer Peter Schmuck and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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