- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2001


BALTIMORE They were decked out in bright orange jerseys, Rick Dempsey was on the field leading the crowd in a team chant, Cal Ripken was crushing the ball like he was 22 again, and the Baltimore Orioles were winning a game with the long ball.
The only thing missing was an old-fashioned Earl Weaver-Ron Luciano argument, though last night did mark the 16th anniversary of the day Weaver was ejected from both ends of a doubleheader by his famed umpiring adversary.
What kind of bizarre time warp was this?
The '70s night at Camden Yards featured an Orioles team that actually played like one of those legendary teams, one that belted out three home runs including Ripken's second in as many nights to beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 before 38,545 at Camden Yards.
Since announcing his pending retirement nearly two months ago, Ripken has been playing like he's two decades younger. The polyester V-neck jersey and elastic band pants he wore as he circled the bases in the sixth inning last night only made the scene all the more surreal.
The Iron Man's 12th home run of the season, a duplicate of Tuesday night's shot that was his first at home this year, proved the difference in Baltimore's sixth win in its last eight games.
With one out and nobody on in a 4-4 game, Ripken belted Kris Wilson's first pitch a good 10 rows deep into the left-field stands. The ensuing curtain call his second in as many days brought back memories of many a late September game at Memorial Stadium, punctuated by the two-toned, old-logo cap on his head.
The Orioles' big sticks were reminiscent of the good ol' days as well. Jeff Conine started things with a three-run blast (the signature of Weaver's teams) in the first inning off Wilson (6-3) that gave Baltimore starter Jose Mercedes a rare early cushion.
The beleaguered right-hander squandered the lead, though, serving up three runs to the Royals in the third on Donnie Sadler's double, Carlos Beltran's fielder's choice and Joe Randa's two-run homer.
As the teams switched sides for the bottom of the inning, Dempsey one of 14 ex-Oriole players from the '70s at last night's game and currently an analyst for Comcast SportsNet went out toward the pitcher's mound, began waving a white towel and then led the crowd in spelling out the team name twice with his body.
The cheers, which were still going on after Wilson had completed his warm-up tosses, must have rattled the Kansas City pitcher, because two pitches later he was watching Chris Richard circle the bases after hitting a solo home run.
Again, the Orioles' lead was short-lived. In the sixth, Luis Alicea singled to drive in Raul Ibanez against Mercedes (7-13), tying the game. Moments later, Ripken gave Baltimore the lead for good.
Three scoreless innings of relief from John Wasdin, Buddy Groom and Willis Roberts (who picked up his fourth save of the season and second in as many nights) sealed the deal and ended the game in a brisk 2 hours, 22 minutes.
Kind of like they used to play them in the old days.

Notes As had been widely expected for the last few weeks, right-hander Pat Hentgen underwent elbow ligament replacement surgery Aug. 9 in Birmingham, Ala. The veteran pitcher, out since May 16, originally was scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday but managed to have his appointment moved up. According to the Orioles, the procedure (commonly referred to as Tommy John surgery) was successful, and Hentgen is rehabilitating at his home in Michigan.
Signed last winter to a two-year, $9.6 million contract, Hentgen likely won't appear in a game next season. "I think it's too early to say," Hargrove said. "If he comes back to pitch for us next year, that's gravy. People like Pat, I've learned never to say 'never.' " …
Shortstop Mike Bordick, who underwent season-ending surgery Tuesday, did not have a torn labrum in his right shoulder as originally thought. Instead of a full tear, the cartilage was frayed, which required a simpler procedure to clean out the area rather than fully repair it. The Orioles still hope to have Bordick back by spring training… . First baseman David Segui missed his second straight game last night because of illness.

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