NOTEBOOK : There's a Chance Series May Be Canceled

From Associated Press

The World Series, already one week behind schedule, could still be canceled, Commissioner Fay Vincent said Saturday.

Though Vincent said he thought it is "not likely" he will have to call off the games, he also said "it's possible. . . we can't stay here forever."

He said the games might be called if San Francisco declines to give the green light for the resumption of Game 3, postponed by Tuesday's earthquake, or if the stadiums are declared unsafe.

"We can't just stay here and tread water. We have to play or not play," Vincent said from his 31st-floor hotel suite overlooking Union Square.

Vincent hopes the Series can restart Tuesday. He said it will not be moved from the Bay Area.

He said he still believes that the tentative schedule, calling for Game 3 Tuesday night at Candlestick Park, Game 4 Wednesday night at Candlestick Park and, if necessary, Game 5 Thursday night at Candlestick Park, was feasible and correct. Games 6 and 7 would be played at the Oakland Coliseum.

"Maybe we did it right and maybe we did it wrong," he said. "But at least we understood we weren't the highest priority.

"There is obviously a school of thought that says baseball should have canceled the World Series," he said. "I'm not persuaded because, why should baseball cancel the World Series if the rest of the community is getting on? The community here, they took a terrible whacking but they're pulling up their socks, picking up their belongings and going on.

"I don't think it's fair to say that baseball going on is disrespectful. There comes a time when your parents die and you have to go back to school, you have to go back to work. You have to go on. You can't keep mourning. It's unhealthy."

Vincent was thrust into the public spotlight Sept. 1 by the sudden death of A. Bartlett Giamatti. Vincent was deputy commissioner under Giamatti after 10 years as head of Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

"I think Bart would have done largely what I did because we did things so regularly and closely," Vincent said. "He may have come up with a different answer--though I doubt it--but he would have approached it the same way."

Vincent said ABC put "absolutely no pressure" on baseball during its decision-making process. "They did absolutely the right thing," he said. In the event the World Series is canceled, baseball would have to refund millions of dollars to the network.

He sounded much like Giamatti, his close friend, when he talked about baseball's role as a diversion from difficulties in the United States.

"There's only one game called the national pastime," he said. "I think baseball has a very special place in American life. There's no question about that."

Vincent said he believes baseball can help heal the community by offering a distraction from the tragedy of the last week.

"When the game starts, the game will absolutely take over," he said. "It's very hard to do more than one thing. It won't be possible with Will Clark at home plate to think about other issues. That's why it's wonderful to have Will Clark at home plate. When Dave Stewart throws that fastball on Tuesday, I think the (San Francisco) Giants will concentrate on that fastball."

Twenty-five more tickets for Games 3-5 have been returned to the Giants, bringing the two-day total to 75, San Francisco spokesman Matt Fischer said.

Fans were given the opportunity to turn back their tickets after Tuesday's earthquake, which postponed the World Series for at least one week. Saturday was the last day for fans to get ticket refunds.

Fischer said the tickets that were returned will be given to people on a waiting list.

The Oakland Athletics will accept tickets for refunds at the Coliseum box office Monday and Tuesday. The A's would play host to Game 6 and 7, if necessary.

Oakland pitcher Storm Davis said that the change in the A's starting rotation in the World Series may influence his decision to become a free agent.

Manager Tony La Russa announced Friday that Dave Stewart will start Game 3 against San Francisco and Mike Moore the fourth game.

Before the earthquake postponed Game 3 at Candlestick Park last Tuesday, La Russa was planning to use Bob Welch in Game 3 and Davis in Game 4. La Russa has indicated Welch will be used in Game 5.

Stewart pitched a five-hit shutout in Game 1, and Moore pitched seven strong innings in the A's victory in Game 2.

"It tells me they may have enough pitching," Davis said. "They have Stewart, Moore and Welch."

There was light rain in the Bay Area and the Giants canceled their Saturday morning workout at Candlestick Park. But minor structural repairs continued.

The A's cut their workout at the Oakland Coliseum short because of the rain.

The A's took batting practice in a steady drizzle before ending the workout. They plan to practice the next two days.

* RELATED STORY: A1

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