Baseball games postponed further

· Sep 14, 2001 Tweet

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball postponed all games through Sunday and will resume play Monday.

Since Tuesday’s attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, baseball has wiped out six days of play. The latest decision raised the total of postponed games to 91, the most since World War I caused nearly the entire final month of the 1918 season to be canceled.

Commissioner Bud Selig said all players will wear American flags on their uniforms for the remainder of the season, and American flags will be given to fans during all games Monday.

“The more I thought about it, I couldn’t rationalize starting before Monday,” Selig said Thursday.

Baseball will make up all the games by extending the regular season, which had been scheduled to end Sept. 30. The games will be rescheduled for the week of Oct. 1.

“I believe in the sanctity of the 162-game schedule,” Selig said.

That leads to the possibility of the World Series, long known as the October Classic, producing its first Mr. November. It originally had been scheduled to end Oct. 28.

“I believe that extra week will not be harmful,” said Selig, who made his decision after examining which teams were in contention for the playoffs. “I worry about weather in October. Fortunately, we have a lot of warm-weather teams, a lot of West Coast teams.”

Selig made his announcement more than four hours after the NFL said it would not play this weekend. He said that wasn’t a factor in his decision.

According to one source, baseball was advised by the administration that it felt resuming this weekend was a good idea, hence its earlier efforts to prepare teams to pick back up the schedule on Friday. Several teams had begun traveling to games for Friday or were preparing to do so.

Baseball people were under the impression the NFL received the same advice and were surprised when the NFL announced Thursday that it would not play this weekend.

Initial response appeared to be positive.

“It’s a good thing, in light of the events that have happened,” Cleveland Indians assistant general manager Mark Shapiro said.

However, Mark McGwire criticized baseball officials for waiting so long to make their decision. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out sporting events are absolutely meaningless compared with what’s going on in Washington and New York,” McGwire said minutes before the announcement was finally made Thursday afternoon. “And why are people taking so long to make a decision, I have no idea.”

By rescheduling the games, baseball ensured Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn would 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 to finish in San Francisco.

Within 30 minutes of Selig’s announcement, the New York Yankees planned to travel to Tampa, Fla., spend three days at their spring training camp, then play the Devil Rays Monday in St. Petersburg.

Some teams already had started traveling to the cities where they were to play Friday. The Pittsburgh Pirates left their ballpark in buses at 11:15 a.m. ET Thursday to travel to Chicago, where they were to play the Cubs.

The Philadelphia Phillies worked out at Turner Field in Atlanta, then left at 1:30 p.m. in four buses headed for Cincinnati, where they were to play the Reds. After hearing the news, the Phillies decided to continue traveling, spend the night in the Cincinnati area, then head to Philadelphia.
Oakland, Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis had charter flights reserved to their Friday destinations.

With air traffic grounded, many teams on the road at the time of the attacks chartered buses to get home: the Chicago White Sox from New York, 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.
The Indians arrived home at 11 a.m. Thursday after a 14-hour trip, and the Mets arrived at 2:30 a.m. after a 7-hour trip. The Blue Jays got back to the SkyDome at 8:30 a.m. following 12 hours on the road.
The Boston Red Sox, in St. Petersburg, Fla., to play the Devil Rays, went by bus to central Florida and boarded an Amtrak train headed north, at first unsure whether they would get off in Baltimore to play the Orioles or keep going to Boston.

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This article was published Sep 14, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 14, 2001 at 12:00 am

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