"Hurricane Bud" Strikes Camden Yards with Hot Air

The Federal Government shuts down. Metro stops running. The United States Navy reroutes its coastal aircraft carriers. Fells Point morphs into Venice. Yet Major League Commissioner Bud Selig and Orioles owner Peter Angelos assess this and say "Take me out to the ballgame!"
In a move that has made potato-heads George Steinbrenner and David Wells look like Voltaire and Rousseau, Selig and Angelos, gave the go ahead for the Orioles to play last Thursday against the Yankees in the eye of Isabel.
The game was moved from 7:05 p.m. to half-past-noon to beat Isabel's arrival, but the storm began shortly before Yankee Mike Mussina threw his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning.
By the third, the flags in center field were flapping like bull whips in the stiff wind. At this point, the infield was getting sloppy, and the stands were becoming kaleidoscopes of beer cups and trash.
"The whole city shuts down. The government shuts down. And we're playing. Figure that out," said the normally sub-moronic Wells.
Big George then weighed in that "This was incredibly bad judgment and stupidity by the commissioner's office. All schools, businesses, athletic events, virtually everything, was shut down and off, except the game."
The "game" was played in front of an "announced crowd of 29,000," proving that the Orioles crowd-counter must be the deposed Iraqi Information Minister. Maybe 1,000 people braved the storm's wrath. The stands wereemptier than a David Spade film festival. One waterproof gentleman dropped a foul ball to the lower deck, calmly took the stairs, and scooped it up.
As if to punctuate the idiocy of this venture, the rain and hurricane-like winds caused the contest to be stopped after five innings in a 1-1 tie. The individual statistics will count, and Selig will determine whether the game will be made up - the teams play in New York on the final weekend of the season.
I must admit to having tickets for this game weeks in advance but I figured if the hurricane could give pause to the most powerful military in the history of humankind, I should perhaps reconsider.
After all, my wife was buying enough Saltines to feed an army of parrots and more bottled water than a John Birch convention and like the rest of the region, I hung on to the nearest bolted-down object.
It must be asked: What were they thinking? The Orioles for their part said they didn't call off the game on Wednesday because they wanted to maintain the "integrity" of an 81-game home schedule. They also kept the "integrity" of the gate receipts. If the game was played in New York, no home money.
Not surprisingly, some players reacted harshly to playing in an area deemed a federal emergency zone.
Mussina, the smartest pitcher of his generation, smelled a rat. The Yankees player rep who was going for his 200th career win against his ex-team, tried to get the union involved to keep the Yankees off the field. "Even if we play this game, can we safely get out of here on an airplane?" Mussina asked with a grimace.
We almost had a sit down strike in Camden Yards!
But my favorite reaction had to have been from Orioles manager Mike Hargrove. Grover is a class act who after three years of care taking an unwatchable team is about to be given his walking papers.
"I don't care one way or another," he muttered with the embittered and grizzled relish of Walter Huston in Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Much like this farce of a game, it appears Grover is gone with the wind. The Orioles it seems will learn the hard way that no matter how many millions they have, players will see the way they treat their baseball people and will tell them that they don't give a damn.

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