The Miami Herald
May 3, 1999
Orioles summon national pride for Cuba game

BALTIMORE -- (AP) -- The Baltimore Orioles will wear black, orange and
white Monday night for their rematch against Cuba. They'll be thinking red,
white and blue.

``The important thing of every game is to win no matter what kind of uniform
you wear or who you represent,'' Orioles pitcher Ricky Bones said Sunday.
``This time we're going to represent the United States. We should go out there
with pride and try to win.''

The Orioles have struggled mightily since beating Cuba 3-2 in 11 innings on
March 28 in Havana. The team is in last place, the players are being booed at
Camden Yards and manager Ray Miller might not have his job by the end of
the 12-game homestand Thursday.

So the Orioles can be forgiven if they don't regard the game with great

``Obviously, you'd like the club to have a day off,'' Miller said.

That's much the same attitude the Orioles carried into the first exhibition. But
shortly after the playing of both country's national anthems, their attitude

``A lot more comes into it than just you or your team. Even though we weren't
really representing the U.S., we were in a way,'' outfielder B.J. Surhoff said.
``We were one team but we were representing a whole lot of people. They
looked at it as their national team representing them.

``Down there I knew it would be really intense and they'd be into it. I'm kind
of curious to see how it's all going to play out tomorrow night.''

In the days leading to the first game, the Orioles had to scramble to get their
birth certificates, passports and visas in order.

This time it's the Cubans who have been tangled in red tape -- a visa problem
that delayed their flight out of Havana and forced the cancellation of Sunday's
workout at Camden Yards and a reception in their honor.

In the first game, many of Cuba's best players were unavailable because they
were involved in the country's playoffs. There was no such obstacle this time,
so the Orioles can expect even more competition in the rematch.

``They'll have a better team this time. They'll have better players to choose
from,'' said catcher Charles Johnson, whose two-run homer provided the
majority of Baltimore's offense in the first game.

Miller hoped to rest his starters after six innings of that game, but the close
score and high intensity caused him to stick with most of his stars the entire
way. He will use his regular lineup Monday with the exception of his starting

Scott Kamieniecki, who is on the disabled list, will start for Baltimore. The
Orioles can only hope the Cubans don't counter with Jose Contreras, who
allowed two hits over eight shutout innings and struck out 10 in the first game.

While many of the Orioles consider the game a distraction, they realize the
prestige associated with representing their country.

Minnesota Twins manager Tom Kelly, whose team faced the Orioles on
Sunday, wished he could be a part of the show.

``I'd take it as an honor to manage and represent major league baseball in that
endeavor,'' he said. ``I think I would really enjoy it.''

The Orioles merely want to make the best of the situation.

``There was a lot of pride taken over in Cuba. We did everything we could to
win that game and I'm sure it will be no different over here,'' backup catcher
Lenny Webster said. ``We hope to enjoy it, but at the same time we're going
to try and beat them.''
                     Copyright 1999 Miami Herald