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Rays must wait 1 more day

Monday's scheduled game against Yankees is moved to final series of the season.

By KEVIN KELLY

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 15, 2001


Monday's scheduled game against Yankees is moved to final series of the season.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays and Yankees not quite ready to resume playing games so soon after the terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon got some additional time on Friday.

Nearly 24 hours after it announced the postponement of games through Sunday, Major League Baseball delayed Monday's scheduled game between the teams until Oct. 4 at Tropicana Field.

So what was supposed to be the last of a four-game series between the teams now will be the first of four that will conclude the regular season for both.

"When we talked about rescheduling the games, we realized there was a potential problem," said Katy Feeney, MLB vice president of scheduling and club relations.

Had the game been played on Monday, the Yankees would have had to charter flights to Florida and to Chicago on consecutive days.

New York, which nearly flew to Tampa on Thursday and talked of doing the same Saturday evening, is scheduled to resume its season against the White Sox on Tuesday at Comiskey Park.

The Rays will begin an eight-game road trip to Boston, Toronto and New York on Tuesday at Fenway Park.

"Because both clubs have to get away (on Monday) ... the issue just presented itself," Rays chief operating officer John McHale Jr. said. "Especially since this club (New York) is coming back anyway for another series, it occurred to all of us to ask whether it made sense to play this on Monday or as part of the replacement games at the end of the season."

Instead of ending the season with four games at home against Toronto, the Rays now have their second-longest homestand of the season -- 11 games against the Blue Jays (Sept. 27-30), Red Sox (Oct. 1-3) and Yankees (Oct. 4-7) -- because of the postponements.

Fans with tickets to the seven home games against the Red Sox and Yankees postponed this week have a couple of options.

They can use the same tickets for the corresponding games in October or exchange those tickets beginning today at 10 a.m. for one of equal value to any remaining regular-season home game.

Tampa Bay hasn't played since it lost 4-3 to Oakland in 13 innings on Sunday.

The team held its first workout of the week in near silence on Thursday at Tropicana Field and manager Hal McRae held a brief team meeting beforehand.

"I emphasized what we needed to do: play hard, play to win, play aggressively, play without fear, don't worry about making mistakes," he said. "That's the way we were playing when we played our best ball. That's what we're going to try to get back to doing."

Once the workout was complete, players returned to the clubhouse and watched whatever news channel was on any of the four televisions.

"It was very strange," first baseman Steve Cox said. "It was one of those things where it was like everyone was walking around out there in kind of a daze it seemed like. It was odd, very odd."

Tropical Storm Gabrielle canceled Friday's workout, but the team is expected to continue practicing each day until it leaves for Boston on Monday.

"It's kind of a tough thing because the last thing you are thinking about right now is playing baseball," Cox said. "But it's something that you're going to have to get your mind on it. But it's going to be tough. It's going to be a long tough process to be able to totally go out there and focus on what you need to do.

"After you win a game, do you celebrate? It's just kind of a tough thing to do. It just doesn't seem right."

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