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Old 06-30-2007, 06:52 PM
stevo stevo is offline
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Default Umps didn't get weather updates

Umps didn't get weather updates
MacPhail admits club bears some responsibility for Thursday's series finale vs. Yankees
By Jeff Zrebiec
Sun Reporter
Originally published June 30, 2007
Did the Orioles lose their opportunity to sweep the hated New York Yankees because of a communications breakdown in the stadium operations department?

Several sources confirmed yesterday that a failure to relay timely weather information might have contributed to the circumstances that enabled the Yankees to stay on the field long enough to take the lead before Thursday night's game was suspended with the Orioles trailing 8-6.

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail acknowledged yesterday that the club bears some responsibility for a potential rain-shortened victory over the Yankees turning into a suspended game, though he declined to offer specifics.

However, three baseball sources confirmed that a Major League Baseball official yesterday contacted Roger Hayden, the Orioles' director of ballpark operations, about how Thursday's rain delays were handled.

"I think there were areas on all sides of what happened [Thursday] night that could stand some improvement, but at the same time, we were behind in the game because they scored more runs than we did," said MacPhail, who also said that the club will not file a complaint with the league because it was a judgment decision by the umpires.

The Orioles trailed the Yankees 8-6 when crew chief Tim Tschida called for the tarp to be put on the infield at Camden Yards for the second time. The umpiring crew then waited 1 hour, 25 minutes before suspending the game. The game will resume where it was stopped - with two outs in the top of the eighth and with Derek Jeter on second - on July 27 before the regularly scheduled game between the Yankees and Orioles.

The ending left a bitter taste with the Orioles, who felt that the game should never have resumed after the first delay, which came in the middle of the Orioles' four-run seventh and lasted 19 minutes.

Tschida, reached last night in Cincinnati, said stadium officials did not keep him up to date on the weather conditions, an assertion that was denied by one Orioles official, who said that he is confident that the club "followed proper protocol."

According to team sources, the responsibility for that would primarily fall on Hayden, who deflected questions last night to director of communications Gregory Bader. Bader said MacPhail's comments would be all the club had to say on the subject.

"The first weather report at the start of the game, we were cleared for about three hours. That was good news," Tschida said. "I told them if it starts to rain, I need somebody to come and tell me. When the first rain came, I looked around and there was nobody looking for me. Nobody came, but the ground crew came out and positioned itself around the tarp. The first stoppage ended up being a short stoppage."

When play resumed, Brandon Fahey made the last out of the seventh, and then the Yankees scored four runs in the top of the eighth to take the lead. Jeter drove in the last two by singling through a rainstorm against closer Chris Ray. "I had no information," Tschida said. "We went back out there. Again, I need someone to come and tell me what was going on. I was reluctant to pull everyone off the field again if it was going to be like the first one."

The Orioles were irate that Tschida and the umpiring crew let the game get to the point where there was standing water on the infield. Ray said that he couldn't grip the baseball, and several Orioles infielders said that they couldn't even see the ball as it crossed home plate. That included third baseman Melvin Mora, who protested the decision and was ejected after a verbal confrontation with Tschida.

After the game, Mora questioned Tschida, saying: "He just tried to make Jeter hit so they can score one run and they can get out of here. That's what I think."

A Major League Baseball spokesman said there were no plans to discipline Mora, who reiterated the comments before last night's game. When told that accusing Tschida of favoring the Yankees could result in a fine, Mora said, "I don't give a damn."

"Maybe, [the umpires] were frustrated. I don't know," said Mora, who alleged that Tschida showered him with expletives, an accusation the umpire denied. "I get [ticked] when people ask me a question about whether a player is going to get fined. Why not fine the umpire? I don't want to be in that position, but he told me nasty stuff.

"He just said, '[Expletive] you, go to third base," Mora continued. "I said, 'Why would you curse at me? I just asked you a question.' And he said, '[Expletive] go back there.' They try to do their job and I try to do mine, but he disrespected me."

Interim manager Dave Trembley acknowledged after Thursday's game that the umpire crew relayed to them that they didn't know "the second band of rain was coming. I don't think they would have resumed play to begin with."

A team official, who requested anonymity, disputed the assertion, saying that the umpires had access to radar that detects weather patterns and they also were equipped with a walkie-talkie that allowed them to communicate with team officials.

Trembley hopes the situation has been resolved.

"I think it is a little clearer to me today than it was last night," he said. "I believe that the areas of communication will improve if we run into a situation like we did last night. I'm not going to point the fingers at anybody. We didn't pitch very well there in the eighth inning. I could have done a couple things a little bit differently. It's unfortunate we all got into a situation that we got into."
Sun reporter Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

Umps didn't get weather updates -
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
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