- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 29, 2001


NEW YORK The attention this weekend should be on Cal Ripken, with the retiring star playing the final three road games of his career in baseball's most historic ballpark.
Perhaps by tomorrow's series finale, the Baltimore Orioles will be ready to join everyone else at Yankee Stadium in celebrating the Iron Man's career. For now, the Orioles are more consumed by their first trip to New York since the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
"The edge has kind of been taken off of it all because of this," manager Mike Hargrove said before his team was mowed down by former staff ace Mike Mussina in the Yankees' 7-0 victory. "I think we all still have a deep sense of sadness."
The Orioles arrived in New York late Thursday night with varied emotions. During the bus ride from Newark International Airport to their midtown Manhattan hotel a trip so quiet Hargrove said "you could have heard a pin drop" it was nearly impossible for the Orioles not to notice the New York skyline in the distance a skyline devoid of two familiar side-by-side skyscrapers.
Many Orioles have had the urge to head to what has been termed Ground Zero, and some like Hargrove plan to visit the damaged area after this afternoon's game.
"I think at some point in time, if not already, that will be a place of reverence," he said. "I'd kind of like to go and pay my respects. I'd also like to go so that I'll see it and never forget it."
Others, such as veteran relief pitcher Alan Mills, aren't sure their presence would be appropriate.
"I don't know if I want to see it," said Mills, who pitched for the Yankees in 1990 and 1991. "I take pictures as a hobby, and I know if I went down there I could get some great black-and-white shots. I don't know if I want that. I feel funny talking about it.
"I know a lot of people want to see it, but by doing it you're cheapening what happened and making it into some sort of attraction."
Yankee Stadium is fairly removed from the disaster area, but the Orioles still felt close to it all yesterday. Players entered the stadium through tight security, showing photo IDs and having their bags searched.
On the field, they were not nearly as polished as the hometown Yankees, who were playing their fourth game at home since the attacks.
Starter Jason Johnson was all over the place in the first inning, hitting Nick Johnson and Derek Jeter on consecutive pitches. Two batters later, Tino Martinez laced a drive down the right-field line that scored both. Martinez ended up with a triple when right fielder Larry Bigbie misplayed the carom.
Johnson's next pitch to Shane Spencer bounced in the dirt, skipped away from catcher Geronimo Gil and allowed Martinez to score from third.
New York, which clinched its fourth straight American League East title earlier this week, never let up against Johnson (10-12). The Yankees scored two runs in the third on Bernie Williams' homer to right and two more in the seventh on Shane Spencer's opposite-field single.
"I thought Jason threw the ball well tonight. He made four bad pitches all night that cost him five runs," Hargrove said. "He hit Johnson and then hit Jeter and then hung a curveball to Tino. Four or five pitches all night in the sequence of things hurt him."
Mussina was brilliant in his fourth start against his former club, tossing a three-hit shutout, striking out 13 and walking none. The right-hander had a perfect game through 3-1/3 innings before Bigbie grounded a single up the middle past diving Alfonso Soriano.
The only other Orioles to reach base were Jerry Hairston, who dropped a sixth-inning single just in front of left fielder Chuck Knoblauch, and Jeff Conine, who beat out a grounder to second in the seventh. Otherwise, Baltimore managed nothing against Mussina (16-11), who with Roger Clemens became the first Yankees pitching duo to strike out 200 batters since 1904.
"I was a little surprised that they came out swinging like that," Mussina said. "They seemed to be after the first pitch, each guy. It just worked today."
Mussina did give credit to one of only two Baltimore batters he didn't strike out, a player he has known well over the years.
"This was the fourth time I pitched against [the Orioles] this year, and Cal got 15 or 16 at-bats against me. I never struck him out, I know that," Mussina said. "He looks as good out there as he did the last two or three years."

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