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MLB will resume games Monday

By Associated Press

Friday September 14, 2001

NEW YORK - Major league baseball postponed all games through the weekend and will resume play on Monday, a move that could push the World Series into November for the first time.

Yesterday's decision stretched to six days the interruption caused by the Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Other than player strikes, it is the longest regular-season stoppage since World War I forced the cancellation of the final month of the 1918 season.

The 91 postponed games were rescheduled for the week of Oct. 1, a move that will cause a one-week delay in the start of the postseason. And as a result of the new schedule, Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn will finish their careers before home fans instead of being on the road.

"In a perfect world, yeah, I'd like to be able to celebrate the end with the people who have been here the whole time," Ripken said as the Orioles practiced at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

But he took no pleasure in it.

"Everyone's been shaken to the core," he said. "Baseball is a great sport - it's fun, it's entertaining, it provides a service to society. But in the grand scheme of things, it's very minuscule."

Commissioner Bud Selig made the announcement in Milwaukee about four hours after the NFL said it wouldn't play this weekend. Some in baseball had advocated resuming play today, and two teams even started heading by bus to cities where they were scheduled for games this weekend.

"The more I thought about it, I couldn't rationalize starting before Monday," Selig said.

Mark McGwire, the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman who hit a record 70 homers three years ago, criticized baseball for taking so long to make a 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," he said. "And why are people taking so long to make a decision, I have no idea."

No baseball will be played in New York until Sept. 21. The New York Mets, scheduled to play host to the Pirates starting Monday, will instead play those games in Pittsburgh. The Mets' series at PNC Park that was postponed this week will be played during the week of Oct. 1.

Selig said players throughout baseball will wear the Stars and Stripes on the back of their uniforms for the rest of the season, a moment of silence will be held before all games Monday, teams will ask fans to sing "God Bless America," and fans will be given miniature American flags.

Selig didn't consider canceling the games outright, which happened in the strike-shortened 1972, 1981, 1994 and 1995 seasons. He did not want to hurt players such as Barry Bonds, who is seven home runs short of McGwire's record with 18 games remaining.

"There a lot of teams in the wild-card hunt, the pennant hunt," Selig said. "There are a lot of individual records at stake. I believe in the sanctity of the 162-game schedule."

Selig wasn't concerned about the possibility that the World Series, long known as the October Classic, would produce its first Mr. November. Game 7 originally had been scheduled for Oct. 28. If baseball sticks to its usual format, it would be reset for Nov. 4.

"I believe that extra week will not be harmful," Selig said. "I worry about weather in October. Fortunately, we have a lot of warm-weather teams, a lot of West Coast teams."

With air travel disrupted, many teams headed home Wednesday and yesterday by means seldom used by baseball in the past half-century - buses and trains.

When the Major League Baseball Players Association held a conference call yesterday among player representatives, some called in on cellular telephones from trains and buses, others from truck stops.

The biggest journey was by the Texas Rangers, who headed by bus yesterday from Oakland, Calif., back to Arlington, an 1,800-mile trip that they figured would take 30 hours or more.

The Chicago White Sox got home at 11 p.m. CDT Wednesday night after a 15-hour trip from a Manhattan hotel about four miles from the World Trade Center.

As they approached the Hudson River to leave New York City via the George Washington Bridge, they were stopped by a police blockade and asked to take a couple of nurses to a hospital in New Jersey. Then they headed west.

"We normally have guys who, if a plane is 10 minutes late or a bus is 10 minutes late or if they don't get what drink they want, there is complaining like you wouldn't believe," Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko said. "I didn't hear one person yesterday, even though it took 15 hours."

The two teams traveling via bus to cities for today's games were the Pirates, headed from Pittsburgh for Chicago, and the Philadelphia Phillies, who worked out at Atlanta's Turner Field and headed to Cincinnati. After hearing Selig's decision, the Phillies decided to continue on, spend the night in the Cincinnati area and then head home.

Also going home by bus were the New York Mets from Pittsburgh, the Minnesota Twins from Detroit, the St. Louis Cardinals from Milwaukee, the Cleveland Indians from Kansas City and the Toronto Blue Jays from Baltimore.

The 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 home to Boston.

Within 30 minutes of Selig's announcement, the New York Yankees planned to travel to their spring training camp in Tampa, then play Monday in St. Petersburg. But the World Series champions reversed course and decided to stay home at least one more night.


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