It's rare that a manager smiles about having a game rained out, but that's precisely what Davey Johnson did after hanging up the phone in his office and announcing that the Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers would not play last night.
Persistent rain and a bad forecast brought the postponement shortly after 6 p.m. yesterday. It will be made up on Monday, Sept. 16 at 3: 05 p.m.
Fans holding tickets for last night's game must use them Sept. 16 or, if they live more than 75 miles from Camden Yards, can mail them in for a full refund.
Orioles officials said they did not want to keep fans waiting in the rain for hours last night, a scenario that has played out at Camden Yards several times this year, and that was just fine with Johnson and his road-weary team.
The Orioles returned home from a two-week, 13-game trip to the Midwest on Sunday, one of several factors leading Johnson to favor taking last night off.
The Orioles are back on the road after tomorrow night's game and play five games in four days against the Oakland Athletics, including a doubleheader on Friday. With one doubleheader already looming, Johnson said in no way did he want to play another one today.
"I would have rather played at midnight [last night] than play a doubleheader [today]," Johnson said. "No, I didn't have a whole lot of interest in playing a doubleheader. As a player I liked it. You've got a chance to get four, five hits. As a manager, I'd just as well not play a doubleheader."
Johnson said he was satisfied with the postponement for several reasons. His team could rest up and go to bed early last night without having to wake up early today for a doubleheader. Johnson said he also was concerned about how he would handle starter Rocky Coppinger during rain delays and he feared the stoppages in play could hurt Coppinger's young arm.
The day off also helps the rest of the starting staff. The Orioles have gone to a four-man rotation, with each starter getting three days off between starts instead of their normal four. Now, Coppinger, who will start tonight, gets an extra day off, as do the other starters.
Plus, banged-up Orioles, like outfielder Brady Anderson, who is nursing a strained lower calf muscle, get an extra day of rest without missing any more game time.
"Coming off a 13-game road trip and having my starters on three days' rest, [the postponement] is fine," Johnson said. "We'd probably be here all night long [if they tried to play] and that's not the way you want to come home."
There was one negative about the situation though. Johnson said the date of the make-up game is a bit ill-timed. It comes right after a three-game series in Detroit and one day before a three-game series in New York.
"I don't know where to stay . . . New York, Detroit, somewhere in between," Johnson said. "It's not my favorite decision to play on an off day between Detroit and New York."
Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers
Site: Camden Yards
TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Brewers' Scott Karl (10-6, 5.16) vs. Orioles' Rocky Coppinger (7-3, 4.93)
Tickets: 6,000 remain
Pub Date: 8/13/96