Baseball may run to November

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Baseball may play its first World Series games in November and Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn could get to finish at home as result of the terrorist attacks that disrupted the major league schedule.

Games through Thursday were called off, raising the total to 45, the most postponed since 1918. There was no decision on this weekend's series.

There's a good chance the regular season would be extended beyond its scheduled finish on Sept. 30 to make up the postponed games.

"Whether we start Friday or whether we start Monday, I think that's how it will play out," Arizona Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo said.

That would lead to the possibility of the October Classic producing its first Mr. November.

It also means that Ripken and Gwynn could finish their Hall of Fame careers at home instead of on the road. Ripken and the Baltimore Orioles were to end the season at Yankee Stadium, while Gwynn and the San Diego Padres were set to finish in San Francisco.

"Obviously, there are some issues that come up because of people who bought tickets to the last series and now it wouldn't be the last series," Gwynn said. "Other than that, I'm really not that worried about it."

Charles Steinberg, the Padres' vice president for public affairs, said even if the Padres play at home in October they would keep plans for the "Thanks Tony Weekend" on Sept. 21-23.

Worried about security

Some players weren't even looking that far ahead, worried instead about security in ballparks.

"If you could pull off hijacking four planes in one day, I imagine you could bomb a stadium," Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell said.

Said the Braves' Brian Jordan: "If I were a fan, I would not be sitting in no stadium watching a baseball game."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig consulted with his security staff and had no such concerns.

"They've assured me we can play and be safe," he said.

With teams unable to fly, many chartered buses to head home: the Minnesota Twins from Detroit, the St. Louis Cardinals from Milwaukee, the Cleveland Indians from Kansas City, the New York Mets from Pittsburgh, and the Toronto Blue Jays from Baltimore.

After speaking with many teams throughout the day, Selig wasn't sure when play would resume.

"What I'm trying desperately to do here is be as sensitive as I can and do what's right for the country," he said.

Another perspective

Some thought teams should play ball.

"My first fax today was from a very, very angry fan who thought we'd been gone too long already," Selig said.

Baseball could reschedule the postponed games as part of doubleheaders next week. Teams that had been scheduled to play each other this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will meet next week in the other city.

Selig, however, would prefer to play those games between Oct. 1-3. If this weekend's games also are postponed, those could be played from Oct. 5-7.

If that happens, the start of the World Series would be pushed from Oct. 20 to Oct. 27. Game 7, if necessary, wouldn't be played until Nov. 4.

Selig wouldn't go into specifics.

"We haven't worked all that out, but I'm hopeful we can have a 162-game season," he said. "I think we have a plan that makes sense."

For now, players have time on their hands and no games to play.

Barry Bonds, his 63 homers just seven short of Mark McGwire's record with 18 games remaining, worked out with the San Francisco Giants in Houston but refused to talk to reporters.

McGwire, in Milwaukee with the Cardinals, pointed to the images of terror on the televisions in the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park and said what mattered now was freedom's future, not baseball. Tears welled in his eyes as he explained that sports seemed trivial compared with the devastation in New York and Washington.

Philadelphia third baseman Scott Rolen felt the same.

"I don't care about the pennant race," he said. "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?"

College football

College football commissioners considered postponing the weekend's entire schedule. The postponement of 14 had been announced: three on Thursday night and 11 on Saturday, including No. 13 Washington at No. 1 Miami.

"The games themselves are insignificant in the face of what has happened today," NCAA president Cedric Dempsey said.

Commissioners of the NCAA's Division I-A conferences, including the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern, held a conference call to discuss their options.

There were 116 Division I games scheduled for Thursday through Saturday. The Big East called off all six football games involving its teams and the ACC postponed all sports through Thursday, while the Pac-10 did the same through the weekend.

The Thursday games called off were Texas Tech at Texas-El Paso, tentatively pushed back to Saturday; Ohio at North Carolina State, rescheduled for Nov. 24; and Penn State at Virginia, not immediately rescheduled.

Saturday's Washington-Miami game might be played Nov. 24. Other games wiped out that day include Arizona State-UCLA at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. (might be played Dec. 1); Georgia Tech at Florida State; San Diego State at Ohio State (rescheduled for Oct. 20); Yale at Towson; and Brown at San Diego (canceled).

Other sports

-- Olympic officials said security for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics will re-evaluated. A $200 million plan to protect athletes and spectators is no longer sufficient, said Mitt Romney, president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said Wednesday the games will go on as planned from Feb. 8-24.

-- NASCAR canceled Friday's qualifying for the New Hampshire 300 but made no decision concerning the race itself. The Indy Racing League will hold the NASCAR trucks race on Saturday and the Chevy 500 on Sunday, both as scheduled, at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth but canceled qualifying.

-- Major League Soccer postponed all four of Wednesday night's games. In Columbus, Ohio, the U.S. Women's Cup doubleheader involving the United States against Japan and Germany vs. China was canceled.

-- The Thoroughbred Racing Association canceled all its cards Tuesday, and Wednesday's racing was called off at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill.; Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore; and Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. Belmont Park in New York called off its cards through Friday.

-- Garnet "Ace" Bailey, 53, a former NHL player with Boston, Detroit and St. Louis, and director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, was aboard United Airlines Flight 175, one of two planes that hit the World Trade Center. Mark Bavis, an amateur scout for the Kings, also was aboard.

-- European soccer's governing body postponed all its matches for the rest of this week "out of a mark of respect" for the victims of the attacks. Eight Champions League and more than 40 UEFA Cup matches were scheduled to be played on Wednesday and Thursday.

-- FIFA said its four World Cup qualifiers in Asia will be played this weekend and will go forward with the World Under-17 Championship, set to start Thursday.

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