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Storm sandbags Baysox game New tarp, promo get blown away


The stage was set for the Bowie Baysox last night.

In town for an encore was The Famous Chicken to do his act at Memorial Stadium, and Brien Taylor, the No. 1 pick in the 1991 summer draft, was pitching for the Albany-Colonie Yankees.

The Baysox had enjoyed their biggest advance ticket sale of the season -- more than 8,000 -- with a crowd of more than 10,000 expected.

Then, the entire show was blown away in about two minutes.

A severe thunderstorm struck at about 5:30 p.m. and head groundskeeper Jimmy Juergens and members of the front office hastily applied the new lightweight tarpaulin the team purchased two weeks ago.

"All of a sudden, the wind got powerful and we had to let go of the tarp because it was taking people away," Juergens said. "It blew the sandbags [which hold down the tarp] off and up it went."

After ballooning into a giant bubble, the majority of the tarp came to rest between the third-base line and the Baysox dugout, leaving 90 percent of the infield uncovered.

For 20 minutes, heavy rain pounded the infield, leaving huge puddles when it ended.

There was no choice but to postpone the game.

A disappointed general manager Keith Lupton said that tickets from last night will be honored at any other regular-season game.

"The Chicken will come back Aug. 11 [when Canton-Akron is the visiting team]," Lupton said.

It was the sixth home rainout for Bowie, which used the major-league tarp for the first three months of the season.

The problem was that it weighed three times as much and required 35 to 40 people to move it properly. Fans were often solicited from the stands to help, getting a free ticket in exchange.

The game will be made up tonight as part of a doubleheader beginning at 6:05 p.m. Taylor and Keith Garagozzo will start for the Yankees, and Jose Mercedes and Terry Farrar will go for the Baysox.

* Gregg Zaun of the Baysox served as a warm-up catcher in the National League bullpen during the All-Star Game at Oriole Park on Tuesday night.

"The Orioles called me, and it was nice to know I was recommended by Johnny Oates," said Zaun, currently on the disabled list because of a sore elbow.

"It was a great chance to see some of the best pitchers work."

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