TONIGHT: Home hasn't been coziest place for Orioles, Twins or no Twins


If the songwriters are correct, it is supposedly always good to touch the green, green grass of homes.

Yet, the blades of grass at Memorial Stadium have been razor-sharp so far this season for the Orioles, who have stumbled to a 9-20 home mark, the worst in baseball.

There are, of course, 52 more home games to improve upon the mark, including tonight's series opener against the white-hot Minnesota Twins, winners of 15 straight, but, for now, there is no home-field advantage.

The notion of domination isn't as big a deal in baseball as in say, hockey or basketball, where it is supreme.

"In basketball, the fans are much closer and you can be intimidated by the crowd and things," said manager John Oates. "A lot of baseball stadiums are spread out so much that the crowd isn't a factor."

OK, but shouldn't a team be able to play better in surroundings that are more familiar to them than to their opponents? Probably, but why haven't the Orioles capitalized on the advantages of the home front?

"I don't think there's anything that you can put your finger on," said Oates.

"Maybe this is a carryover from spring training, when we didn't play that many games at home," said first baseman Randy Milligan.

"It's been like this the last couple of years," Milligan continued. "Guys tend to relax too much at home and rely on the fact that we are at home and things are familiar."

At any rate, the Orioles will get the chance to boost their home mark tonight (7:35, HTS) when Bob Milacki (2-2, 4.81 earned run average) faces Allan Anderson (4-4, 4.38).

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