Indians refuse Ripken switch


SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Cleveland Indians don't want to swap homestands with the Orioles, as Orioles vice chairman Joe Foss has requested.

The Orioles want to switch a May 12-14 series against the Indians in Camden Yards with a Sept. 8-10 series in Cleveland. That way, they can ensure that no rainouts would prevent Cal Ripken from playing at Camden Yards on the day he is scheduled to break Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games.

As it stands, Ripken is scheduled to tie the record on Sept. 5 and break it Sept. 6, both games against the California Angels at home. But a rainout before or on those dates could mean that, under the schedule released Friday, Ripken could break the mark in Cleveland.

Hence, the Orioles' request.

Hence, the Indians' initial reply: no.

"Ownership asked my opinion on it," Indians general manager John Hart told the Associated Press. "I don't want to make the change. The Orioles want a backup plan. This is about competition. Our fans deserve to see the dates on the schedule. Our fans deserve to see a possible championship race in September at home."

American League president Gene Budig could step in and order the change anyway.

"My understanding is that Gene Budig will do his utmost to accommodate the Orioles and ensure that Cal Ripken will break the record at home," Orioles owner Peter Angelos said yesterday. "It's up to him."


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