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Game Plans Change as Hurricane Nears

The threat of the impending storm forces several sporting events on the East Coast to be canceled or postponed.

September 18, 2003|Elliott Teaford | Times Staff Writer

The Baltimore Ravens left town Wednesday, two days ahead of their scheduled departure to San Diego to play Sunday's NFL game against the Chargers because they were trying to avoid the wrath of Hurricane Isabel.

The Ravens weren't alone in changing their plans because of concerns about Isabel, expected to strike the North Carolina coast today. Sporting events and practices along the East Coast were canceled, postponed or had their starting times changed.

The Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates rescheduled today's Major League Baseball games, with the Orioles hosting the New York Yankees, the Phillies facing the Florida Marlins and the Pirates playing the Cincinnati Reds in day games instead of night games.

The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs postponed today's visit with President Bush at the White House.

After Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner declared a state of emergency, NASCAR canceled qualifying today and Friday for the Busch and Winston Cup races at Dover International Speedway. The fields will be set by championship points.

"After listening to the latest forecast regarding projected weather conditions in Delaware as well as discussing contingency plans with state officials as well as officials at Dover, we felt it best to cancel on-track activities set for [today] and Friday," NASCAR President Mike Helton said in a statement.

Women's World Cup organizers sought indoor practice facilities for teams that begin play this weekend in Philadelphia and Washington. The United States team rescheduled its practice to 6 a.m. PDT from 9 a.m. today at Washington in order to avoid Isabel.

The Women's World Cup begins Saturday with Norway playing France in the first game of a doubleheader at Philadelphia. The U.S. team plays its opener Sunday against Sweden at Washington.

Virginia Tech expects to play host to Texas A&M tonight as scheduled but has plans to move the game to Saturday if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

"Obviously, if there's imminent danger in the Blacksburg area, we'll make the right decision and postpone the game," Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver told a Norfolk, Va., newspaper Wednesday.

At Durham, N.C., Duke Coach Carl Franks said he doesn't expect to postpone or cancel Saturday's game against Northwestern. The school has its own power source, which prevents blackouts that might hit the rest of the state.

"The last time we had a big ice storm around here, Duke didn't lose power," Franks told Bloomberg News. "So this is probably as good a place for our guys to be."

Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State planned to move today's afternoon practices to this morning.

North Carolina Coach John Bunting gave his cell phone number to 26 players who have relatives in the Raleigh-Durham area, so everyone can stay in contact while the team is in Madison, Wis., to play Wisconsin on Saturday.

"That was No. 1 in my mind -- to make sure all of our families and our players were well-versed in how to get ahold of each other," Bunting said. "This should remove a lot of distraction and concern."

And there was more.

Many high school football games scheduled for Friday in the low-lying Hampton Roads area of Virginia have been postponed until Monday.

The Senior Champions Golf Tour event at Cary, N.C., might be postponed, a tournament spokesman said.

A charity mackerel fishing tournament at Wrightsville Beach, N.C., an annual fund-raiser for the North Carolina Wilmington athletic department, will be postponed, according to a booster club spokeswoman.

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