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For Rays, it's ppd., hurricane

If necessary, today's game would be made up on Oct. 2.

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 17, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- At least the Devil Rays can't lose today.

This afternoon's game with Oakland was postponed as a result of Hurricane Gordon. The Rays say they made the decision for the safety of their fans and players and to accommodate the A's, who fled to Baltimore on Saturday night.

The A's could be back though. If the game impacts the playoff picture -- that would be for the A's, not the Rays -- it will be made up Oct. 2, the day after the scheduled end of the season.

Given that the Rays lost their season-high seventh straight game Saturday, manager Larry Rothschild said the postponement was not such a bad thing.

"I think it's probably a well-needed break right now," he said. "It certainly can't hurt. Hopefully some guys will get some rest and come back and we can get our minds on what we need to do to finish up."

The Rays made the decision in consultation with the Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center, the commissioner's office and the A's.

Much like a standard rainout policy at outdoor stadiums, fans who had tickets for today's game can exchange them for tickets to any remaining home game, including the potential Oct. 2 game. There are no refunds. Today's planned Bat Day promotion has been rescheduled for Oct. 1.

Devil Rays players left the clubhouse Saturday evening headed in different directions. While some veterans went to attend to their families and secure their homes, some younger players headed back to their hotel rooms not sure of what to expect.

Rookie Jace Brewer, who grew up in Washington, Okla., has no hurricane experience. "I've gone through a lot of tornado drills, and I guess these aren't much different except that they have water in them," Brewer said. "We don't have hurricanes, but we have big spinning things."

The A's, who had two games postponed last September in Baltimore as a result of Hurricane Floyd, were happy to get out of town.

Their plan was to check out of their St. Petersburg hotel, fly to Baltimore, then bus to Washington for the night since they couldn't get hotel space in Baltimore on short notice. "The reality is from the safety perspective we really didn't have much choice," assistant general manager Paul DePodesta said.

For the Rays, it seems an almost fitting development in their frustrating season -- a rainout at a domed stadium.

They, however, are not the first. Houston postponed a June 15, 1976, game at the Astrodome because of rains and flooding. Oakland manager Art Howe and Rays batting coach Leon Roberts were both playing for the Astros.

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