Steinbrenner, Tigers miffed by rainout

Delay irks Yanks owner

visitors told late

October 05, 2006|By Newsday

New York -- New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner left Yankee Stadium last night angry with Major League Baseball, as did many of the Detroit Tigers.

The cloud of confusion hovering over baseball's decision to postpone Game 2 of the American League Division Series even though it wasn't raining at the time had many in a foul mood.

When baseball officials finally decided to push back the game until today at 1:09 p.m. is in question, and many Tigers believe the Yankees were delivered the information well before they were.

But if Steinbrenner had his way, the game never would have been postponed. And if they were going to postpone it, he believes the choice should have been made much sooner.

"I think we should have played," Steinbrenner said upon leaving the stadium. "We should have made up our minds earlier."

The game was scheduled to begin at 8:09 p.m. but it never started because of rain that began a little while later. The rain stopped at around 9:30, and the tarp was removed from the field, but by 10, the game was postponed.

Many of the Yankees were dressed by the time reporters were allowed in the clubhouse a few minutes past 10, and manager Joe Torre already had left without addressing the media.

That was about the time the Tigers were beginning to fume, believing they were told the news much later than the Yankees.

"At 9:35, they said 10 o'clock start," Detroit reliever Todd Jones said. "Then Justin [Verlander] goes out there and starts throwing and not one Yankee was out there. They went from, `We're going at 10 o'clock,' to six minutes later, `The game is canceled.' And it hasn't really rained hard out there? Is that what I'm hearing?"

The Yankees' scheduled starter, Mike Mussina, said he received the news in time to not throw at all, but Verlander began throwing on the side after the tarp was removed.

Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, said: "I understand he did some soft-tossing and some stretching but he didn't do any real pitching. We wanted to get the game started. We thought we could."

But somewhere between 9:30 and 10 p.m. they decided the second wave of rain forecast to hit later was too significant to try to finally start the game. The rain finally began again at about 11.

Steinbrenner didn't like the decision, but general manager Brian Cashman called it the right move, citing two more rain fronts on the way.

"When you're in these games, you want to get nine competitive innings in, and with the forecast we've got right now, there's no guarantee we could get five," Cashman said. "I think this is the safe and fair scenario for both teams."

Note -- Randy Johnson threw a bullpen session yesterday afternoon and Torre said the Yankees left-hander is set to start Game 3. Johnson has a herniated disk in his back that required him to get an epidural shot Friday. Johnson last pitched Sept. 23, when he gave up five runs and seven hits over six innings in an 8-0 loss at Tampa Bay. He was 17-11 with a career-high 5.00 ERA in 33 starts this season.

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