Monday, September 6, 2004
Devil Rays on plane; game time pushed back again
NEW YORK -- The start of Monday's doubleheader between the New York Yankees and Devil Rays was delayed because Tampa Bay had trouble leaving Florida due to Hurricane Frances.
The Devil Rays, whose Saturday and Sunday home games against Detroit were postponed by the hurricane, reported to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg at 8 a.m. They departed by bus for Tampa International Airport at 1:05 p.m. and were on the plane, scheduled to take off about 2:40 p.m., said Devil Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn, who was traveling with the team.
The Devil Rays were due to land at LaGuardia Airport between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m., according to Katy Feeney, a vice president in the commissioner's office. A police escort to Yankee Stadium was being arranged, Feeney said.
Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office, said commissioner Bud Selig was reviewing the situation with other baseball officials and no decision had been made on how to proceed.
"It's an unfortunate set of circumstances," he said.
Monday's doubleheader originally was scheduled to start at 1 p.m., then was pushed back two hours on Sunday.
"We had planned on being here all day anyway," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "I don't see how we could play two games today now."
The Yankees had urged the Devil Rays to leave Florida on Friday night or Saturday, before the storm caused airports to close.
The Yankee Stadium gates opened at 11 a.m., and about 1,000 fans were in the stands on the sunny afternoon when an announcement was made at 12:45 p.m. that the doubleheader would not start on time. Fans were told more information would be available about 2 p.m.
Ray Zincone, a 29-year-old from West Warwick, R.I., drove down to New York on Monday morning with his wife, Sheila, and 7-year-old son, Raymond.
"I would like to stay if there's a chance to play," he said.
The Yankees reported to Yankee Stadium at noon for the doubleheader.
"Let's get a grill," Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina said. "Hot dogs and burgers on the field."