- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2001

BALTIMORE Perhaps the Baltimore Orioles simply did it out of the kindness of their hearts. Perhaps they did it, as they claim, because they had a genuine need for a healthy ballplayer. And perhaps they did it to momentarily take some attention and pressure off Cal Ripken in hopes that the Iron Man can break out of the worst slump of his dwindling career.
Whatever their rationale, yesterday's acquisition of Tim Raines Sr. uniting the 42-year-old outfielder with 22-year-old son Tim Raines Jr. to form the second father-son teammate combo in major league history couldn't prevent the Orioles from losing their 94th game of the season, 7-6 to the Toronto Blue Jays.
And it couldn't prevent Ripken from another hitless night at the plate, leaving the retiring star 0-for-32 since Tuesday of last week.
Despite persistent pleas and coaxing from a crowd of 33,705 at Camden Yards, Ripken was 0-for-3 with a second-inning walk, extending the longest hitting slump of his 21-year career. He has three days and four games left to break out of the funk after narrowly missing on two crushed balls last night.
Ripken drilled a line drive in the fourth inning but right at third baseman Felipe Lopez, who made the catch without moving. Four innings later in his final at-bat of the night, Ripken picked himself off the ground after a high-and-tight fastball by rookie Bob File and laced the next pitch just foul down the left-field line. After working the count full, he popped out to shortstop, sending much of the crowd home unhappy.
"I don't know that he's ever gone through anything like this," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "But veteran players find a way to snap out of this. The thing is, the last two days, Cal's hit the ball hard, he really has. And he hasn't gotten anything for it. Those things happen."
At least Ripken now has a teammate in his age range to guide him through his final days in uniform. Believe it or not, the 41-year-old third baseman won't finish his career as the oldest player on the Orioles' roster. That distinction now belongs to Raines Sr., who was acquired yesterday from the Montreal Expos for a player to be named.
The surprising move came only two days after Raines Jr. made his big league debut and one night after he picked up his first career hit and scored the game-winning run against Toronto. Walking through a shopping mall yesterday, the rookie was stunned to get a phone call from his father, who attended Monday's game but rejoined the Expos the following day in Florida.
"He was like, 'I got some crazy news. I'm on my way to Baltimore. I guess we're going to be playing together for the next couple days,'" Raines Jr. said. "I couldn't believe it. I thought he was joking."
The elder Raines arrived at Camden Yards around game time and was in uniform (wearing No.11) just in time to see his son lead off the bottom of the first with a towering double off the right-field wall.
The younger Raines singled in the fifth, stole second and took third on catcher Darrin Fletcher's error, then scored on a double by Luis Matos. He walked to lead off the seventh, moved to second on a sacrifice and then caught a glimpse of his dad stepping to the plate to pinch-hit for DH Chris Richard.
With a chance to drive in his son and break a 4-4 tie, Raines Sr. sent a sinking liner to right-center, but Vernon Wells tracked it down to record the out. Raines Jr. still managed to score his fourth run in two nights, though, when Tony Batista blooped a single to right field.
But the lead was short-lived. After Jose Cruz Jr. launched his fifth home run in as many games in the fifth inning, the Blue Jays took the lead for good in the eighth on Lopez's bases-loaded triple off Jorge Julio. All three baserunners singled off Buddy Groom (1-4), who needs three more appearances in four games to extend his streak of 70-appearance seasons to six years.
Raines Sr. had one more chance to be the hero when he stepped to the plate with two on and one out in the ninth. He sent a deep fly ball to left field that scored Matos from third, but Batista struck out to end the game.
Though it has the look of a late-season publicity stunt to put the Raineses alongside Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. (who were teammates on the Seattle Mariners in 1990-91) as the only father-son duos ever in the majors, the Orioles insist they have a legitimate need for Raines Sr., who made his big league debut in 1979 and ranks fifth on the all-time stolen bases list with 808.
"We have people injured, and we felt it made sense to bring [Raines Sr.] in to give us a hand," Hargrove said. "He's a veteran player who knows how to play the game. And also I think it's a nice touch that his son's here and they get a chance to play together. I think that's a tremendous thing."
Raines Sr., who batted .308 in 47 games with the Expos this year after missing the 2000 season while recovering from lupus, is expected to start in the outfield next to his son tonight against Boston.
"We've never really played together," Raines Sr. said. "This is something fathers dream about. I don't think too many fathers ever think this will happen. We're looking at four days for now and then we'll see what happens after that. We're going to really enjoy these four days together."
Notes To make room for Raines Sr. on their 40-man roster, the Orioles placed outfielder Mike Kinkade on the 60-day disabled list with an injured right wrist. Kinkade is one of nine Baltimore players currently on the 60-day DL.
The Orioles are selling limited edition Cal Ripken bobblehead dolls in commemoration of the Iron Man's retirement. The two-doll sets, which are being sold for $39, feature one Ripken doll circa 1981 and one circa 2001, and are available at Camden Yards or by calling 1-888-624-BIRD.

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