For O's, Watered-Down Effect Continues
By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 13, 2004; Page D09
CHICAGO, May 12 -- The same clever audio/video specialists in every ballpark in the country play the same clever "rain" songs to entertain bored fans any time the skies open up and preclude baseball for a while. Which means, by now, the Baltimore Orioles are sick and tired of Garbage's "I'm Only Happy When It Rains," Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain" and B.J. Thomas's "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head."
(Note to clever audio/video specialists: For variety's sake, how about "Rain Delay" by Marah ["It's a rain delay / I'm sorry, ok . . . "], "Rain" by The Beatles ["Rain, I don't mind . . . "], "17 Days" by Prince ["Let the rain come down . . . "], and "Louisiana 1927" by Randy Newman ["Rained real hard and it rained for a real long time . . . "]?)
In any case, the Orioles waited around U.S. Cellular Field for a couple of hopeful hours Wednesday night before being stuck with their fifth rainout of the season, keeping them on an extraordinary one-rainout-a-week pace. The scheduled game against the Chicago White Sox will be made up as part of a doubleheader Thursday beginning at 1 p.m.
In three of the Orioles' five road series this season, at least one game has been rained out. And the other two series were played in domes. Each rainout presents another set of problems involving travel logistics, pitching schedules and postgame social plans.
"It's brutal," said Manager Lee Mazzilli. "But what can you do?"
Wednesday night's rainout pushed back by a day the major league debut of Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera, who will now start Thursday's first game. Lefty Erik Bedard will start the second game.
The White Sox will also be featuring a debutant, right-hander Felix Diaz, in the second game. Right-hander Jon Garland will oppose Cabrera in the first game.
With the rainout, the Orioles had the option of skipping Cabrera -- who was called up from Class AA Bowie on Tuesday when Matt Riley went on the disabled list -- and moving up right-hander Kurt Ainsworth. However, Mazzilli said there was never any thought to that.
"I want to see him," Mazzilli said of Cabrera, a 6-foot-7 flamethrower who turns 23 later this month. "I have a good feeling about it, and I want to see him pitch."
The rainout also gives shortstop Miguel Tejada an extra day to rest his right leg, which forced him out of Tuesday night's game in the first inning and put his streak of 623 consecutive games played -- the longest active streak in the majors -- in jeopardy.
Tejada, who was diagnosed with a strained muscle near his right shin, was in Mazzilli's official lineup Wednesday night, but now faces the possibility of back-to-back games Thursday afternoon.
"The first game will dictate what we do," Mazzilli said. "We'll see how he feels. [If there is] any indication he doesn't feel right [after the first game], we won't play him."
Tejada admitted he wasn't sure if he would be able to play Wednesday night when he left the park Tuesday night, but he was buoyed by a clean MRI taken Wednesday morning and the doctor's blessing to play. As for his iron man streak, Tejada realizes it must end some time.
"One of these days it's going to be stopped," he said. "I have the streak because I like to play baseball. I love baseball. [But] for me and for the team, if the best thing is to take a day off, I'll take it."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company