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Gordon may chase Sturtze from home

By BRUCE LOWITT and MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 17, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Pitcher Tanyon Sturtze has never been through a hurricane. He lives on Clearwater Beach near the water. "That's why I'm asking around to see what to do," he said as he dressed after Saturday's loss. "I think I might have to be getting out."

Catcher Mike DeFelice, a few lockers away, heard him. He lives on higher ground in Safety Harbor. "If you do, you call," he told Sturtze. "Call my house. If we're not there tell the babysitter to give you directions. We have a whole room for you out there."

Dave Eiland's locker is near Sturtze's, too. "I'm going to go home, spend some time with my family," he said. Home is Wesley Chapel, just north of North Tampa. "My property is up high, so I'm okay," Eiland said.

Better than living on Clearwater Beach like Sturtze, someone said.

Eiland grinned wickedly. "That's Sturtze's problem," he said, and burst out laughing at his joke. Travis Harper was supposed to pitch today. Hurricanes are something of a novelty for him. "I'll just go home (to his St. Petersburg hotel room) and try to stay dry. This doesn't happen in West Virginia too often."

Doug Creek was vacationing on the outer banks of North Carolina when Hurricane Hugo blew through. "We had to get out of there pretty quick."

He lives on the fifth floor of a St. Petersburg condominium. "If the water gets that high ... "

HURRICANE VETERANS: Jason Tyner smiled when asked if he'd been through a hurricane. He's from Beaumont, Texas, "45 minutes off the coast, right next to Louisiana and the gulf. I've been through some good ones."

He and his wife are in Tierra Verde. "I think we'll just hang out," he said. "From what I hear (the neighborhood) has held up fine in the past."

Pitcher Paul Wilson likewise is a hurricane veteran. He was in the Mets organization until being traded to the Rays in July, and went through three or four in Jupiter. "We had one Category 5 that came right by the house and one that came right over the house," he said. "Trees down, stuff like that."

Wilson lives in Tierra Verde now. "I'm going to have to make a decision whether to stay or head to Orlando," he said.

Pitcher Cory Lidle lives on high ground near Gandy Boulevard. He was in Fort Myers when Hurricane Andrew was spending itself out heading into the gulf. "We got some rain from it," he said, "but I've never been this close to one."

Lidle is scheduled to pitch Tuesday and knows what he'll be doing after that. His wife is home in Las Vegas, about to give birth to their first child.

"I'll head out of town," Lidle said. "My wife's due on Thursday but she's going to try and get hold of the doctor and if it doesn't come by then we'll see if he can induce it a day early. I'll be there, spend three days with her and the baby."

RAYS BITS: Gerald Williams became the seventh player in major-league history to have 20 home runs and 80 or more RBI from the leadoff spot when he drove Miguel Cairo home with a seventh-inning double. He has 88 RBI for the season. ... Cairo's theft of second base before Williams' hit was his Rays-record 27th of the season, one more than Randy Winn stole in 1998. Jason Giambi's fifth-inning double produced his 124th RBI of the season, tying the Athletics club record set in 1988 by Jose Canseco. ... The Devil Rays will skip rookie Travis Harper's scheduled start today; Bryan Rekar will take his regular turn Monday against Seattle. ... The sleepover in Tropicana Field for Girl Scouts and girls 13 and under, scheduled for after today's game, was rescheduled for Sept. 30 because of Hurricane Gordon.

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