Orioles run off-tackle, finish Oct. 6

Ripken's last game OK'd for Saturday to avoid Ravens

Season to end 1 day early

Tickets from Sept. 16 apply

club to try to appease Sept. 23 fans

September 18, 2001|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

While Cal Ripken's last game will take place at Camden Yards, the Orioles learned yesterday that it won't be part of an unwanted doubleheader with the Ravens.

Major League Baseball has granted the Orioles' request to play their final game on Saturday, Oct. 6, rather than the next night, when the majority of teams will conclude the regular season. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. following a ceremony for Ripken, who's retiring after 21 years.

The Orioles had seven games, all at home, postponed because of last week's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, including a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. They were supposed to end the season on Sept. 30 in New York until Major League Baseball reconfigured the schedule.

The initial plan was for every team to take off Monday, Oct. 1, before making up the postponed games. The Orioles, who resume playing tonight in Toronto, have received permission to eliminate the open date, which allows them to finish before the Ravens' Oct. 7 game against division rival Tennessee. They'll play three games against Toronto and four against the Red Sox.

"We were hoping to be able to get the last game moved up," club spokesman Bill Stetka said. "Major League Baseball had a lot of logistics to go through involving other teams in order to make that happen."

Concerned about parking complications and heavy traffic from fans attending the Ravens' 1 p.m. game, the Orioles were willing to wait until Oct. 8 to avoid a conflict with their neighbors. But they preferred an arrangement made possible when the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays agreed to begin their three-game series on Oct. 1.

"This whole thing was difficult," said Katy Feeney, vice president of club relations and scheduling.

"The process of having a terrorist attack in New York and having to reschedule a week of games, it's been difficult. It wasn't just Baltimore's schedule that was adjusted. Every time you adjust one schedule, it impacts more than one team. All the teams they're playing have to adjust, plus whatever ripple effect there is. Other teams might have been playing somewhere else on that day, so you have to readjust from that standpoint. It wasn't just one team that was difficult."

All but one of the Orioles' makeup games will begin at 7:05 p.m. The first game of the Oct. 5 doubleheader, originally scheduled for Aug. 10 before being rained out, will begin at 1:05 p.m.

Tickets for Sunday's postponed game against the Red Sox will be honored on Oct. 6.

"The tragic events of last week have put us in an unprecedented position. The situation is one that no one could anticipate," said Joe Foss, the Orioles' vice chairman and chief operating officer.

"We have tried to make this rescheduling as fair and logical as possible."

The Orioles will announce additional security measures to be implemented at Camden Yards, along with a revised promotional schedule for the remainder of the season, once they are finalized. Club officials apparently are looking for ways to appease fans holding tickets for Sunday that no longer put them at Ripken's last home game.

Tickets are sold out for the last two games at Camden Yards.

NOTE: Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos confirmed to WBAL Radio yesterday that Syd Thrift, vice president of baseball operations, and manager Mike Hargrove will return next season - which had been expected all along. Thrift has been in the position for two seasons after serving as director of player development and director of player personnel. Hargrove is completing his second season with the Orioles. He has two years left on his contract, including an option for 2003 that the club exercised on Oct. 13, 2000.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays

Site: SkyDome, Toronto

Time: 7:05

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Jason Johnson (10-11, 3.75) vs. Blue Jays' Kelvim Escobar (6-6, 3.16)

Orioles schedule

Tue. 18

@ Tor 7:05 CSN

Wed. 19

@ Tor 7:05 CSN

Thu. 20

@ Tor 7:05 CSN

Fri. 21

NYY 7:05 CSN

Sat. 22

NYY 1:25 45

Sun. 23

NYY 7:05 54, 50

Mon. 24

@ Bos 7:05 CSN

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