posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 05:50 PM
Yankees ask for forfeit as Devil Rays fail to arrive on time
By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer
September 6, 2004
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees asked the commissioner's office to award them a forfeit over Tampa Bay after the Devil Rays failed to arrive in
time for the scheduled start Monday because of travel problems in Florida due to Hurricane Frances.
The doubleheader was changed to a single game and the start time, pushed back Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., was reset for 7 p.m. The Devil Rays, who
reported to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg at 8 a.m., left the ballpark at 1:05 p.m., departed Tampa International Airport at 2:40 p.m., arrived at
LaGuardia Airport at 5:25 p.m. and pulled up to Yankee Stadium in two buses at 6:05 p.m.
``The rule states that if your team is here and ready to play, and the other team isn't here and not ready to play, there should be a forfeit, and we
believe there should be a forfeit,'' Yankees president Randy Levine said.
``There are no plans to reschedule any games until this issue is worked out,'' he said.
Levine said the commissioner's office had been told by the Devil Rays that Tampa Bay would head to New York late Friday or Saturday. Levine called for
an investigation by baseball, and said that if the facts as the Yankees understood them were true, the game should be forfeited. Alternatively, Levine
said the game should be rescheduled for Oct. 4 -- the day after the regular season is scheduled to end -- if it's necessary to decide a postseason
``Get everything down in print as you will. I have no comment.'' Tampa Bay owner Vince Naimoli said.
A forfeit didn't appear to be likely.
``Given the stage of the season we are in, and the exciting pennant races, it is critical that we do everything to decide the championship on the
field,'' commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.
Tampa Bay's home games against Detroit on Saturday and Sunday were postponed, and the Tigers returned home after Friday night's games.
``There were plenty of opportunities to get out of Tampa on Saturday. The airports were open until 3 or 4 o'clock.'' Levine said.
Devil Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said the Devil Rays had never intended to leave before Monday.
``The only thing that entered our mind was being with our families during the hurricane,'' he said.
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.
``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.''
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.''