- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001

BALTIMORE Baseball commissioner Bud Selig's decision to postpone all scheduled major league games until Monday has an indirect, though significant, effect on the Baltimore Orioles and retiring star Cal Ripken, who now will end his certain Hall of Fame career at home.
The six days' worth of games postponed by the commissioner will be made up at the end of the regular season, from Oct. 1-7. Thus, Ripken's last game will not take place Sept. 30 at New York's Yankee Stadium but instead either Oct. 6 or 7 at Camden Yards against the Boston Red Sox.
The Orioles' last home game of the season was to have been Sept. 23 against the Yankees, and the team had planned a three-day celebration of the Iron Man's storied career that weekend.
Details about the site of his final games, though, were not of consequence to Ripken yesterday as the Orioles held a full-team workout with Tuesday's tragedy still fresh on their minds.
"I'm a little numb to the whole situation," Ripken said shortly before the official announcement was made. "I think that with time things will work out and we'll all make decisions and do the best we can on how to proceed. Those things will take care of themselves. But right now, it's hard to really get too psyched up about that."
Still, the opportunity to say goodbye to baseball in his home stadium will be cherished by a man who has been associated with the Orioles virtually his entire life.
"In a perfect world, yeah, you'd like to be able to celebrate the end with the people who've been with you the whole time, in your hometown," Ripken said.
Said Orioles manager Mike Hargrove: "I think it would be special. The people of Baltimore would appreciate that. And as a team, I'm sure we'd all appreciate that, too."
The exact plan for the makeup games has not yet been determined. Orioles chief operating officer Joe Foss said yesterday that the organization "will announce the details of [its] makeup schedule, including dates, times and ticket policy, as soon as they are finalized."
Until then, the team is urging fans to hold onto tickets from this week's postponed games: Sept. 11-13 against Toronto and Sept. 14-16 (including tomorrow's scheduled day-night doubleheader) against Boston.
Assuming the makeup games are played in the order in which they originally were scheduled, fans with tickets to the Sept. 16 game against the Red Sox likely will now find themselves holding tickets to the last game of Ripken's career.
As a team, the Orioles were still coping with the events of the past three days as they arrived at Camden Yards for an afternoon workout. Briefly under the assumption that games could have resumed today, team members were not sure when it would be appropriate to play.
"I really don't know," Hargrove said. "Yesterday, listening to the president say we need to get back to our normal lives, I felt maybe it was appropriate to go ahead and play this weekend. I'm not so sure I feel that way now. I think everything has its place. We certainly want to play as soon as we can, but there are 4,700 people in New York who are unaccounted for, the people in Washington at the Pentagon, the people who died on those planes. Our need to play baseball pales in comparison."
Though the major league schedule will resume Monday, the Orioles have that day off; they'll resume their season Tuesday at Toronto.
A handful of organizational members were affected by this week's events. Scout Shawn Pender was in New York, walking toward the World Trade Center to meet someone and witnessed the plane crashes from a few blocks away but was unharmed. Advance scout Deacon Jones was stranded in Westchester County, N.Y. Outfielder Chris Richard's girlfriend had a cousin aboard one of the hijacked planes.
Hargrove wound up driving his wife Sharon home from Baltimore to Cleveland on Wednesday evening, spent the night and drove six hours back yesterday morning to rejoin the team.
"Everyone's been shaken to the core," Ripken said, "and I would imagine everyone thinks in their own perspective how insignificant a lot of things are that you do. Baseball is a great sport, it's fun and it's entertaining and provides a service to society. But in the grand scheme of things, it's very minuscule and insignificant. When you're thinking about what has happened and where you are, you don't really get too energized about baseball."


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