Tulsa Drillers general manager Joe Preseren was facing

a no-win situation when he had to schedule makeup dates

for an April 13 rainout against Shreveport and a May 2 rainout

against Arkansas.

"I thought about the effect it could have on the first-half

race if I scheduled them for the second half," said Preseren.

"But rainouts are made up as part of doubleheaders and

conditions for playing doubleheaders during April and early

May often aren't good for fans because of the cold weather,

which led to the decision to play them in the second half.

"It's a tough decision when to make up games that are rained

out early in the season. It would help if the Texas League

schedule had teams in your division visit your city more

than once during each half. Then, you wouldn't be faced

with that choice."

Both Texas League first-half races this year were influenced

because of rainouts that weren't made up and left contending

teams with an unequal number of games played.

In the Western Division, El Paso and Wichita were even in

the loss column but El Paso won the title because it won

the two extra games it played.

In the Eastern Division, Shreveport and Jackson finished

in a virtual tie for first but Shreveport was declared the

winner because it played two fewer games and finished ahead

by one percentage point. Tulsa finished third, one-half

game behind. The Drillers played one more game than Shreveport

and one fewer than Jackson.

The Drillers would have won the first-half title had they

made up and won the two rained-out games in the first half

that will be made up instead during the current home stand.

And because some first-half games will be made up in the

second half, close second-half races also could be affected

by an unequal number of games played by contending teams.

In 1988, TL owners adopted a rule stating that any rainouts

in the final three first-half series must be made up during

the first half, unless it was the final game of a series.

The change was inspired after some teams had not made up

rainouts during the first half of a season for the sole

purpose of protecting their lead in the standings.

That rule should be extended for the entire first half of

the season. General managers shouldn't be forced into a

situation such as Preseren faced this year.

Every effort should be made to ensure that teams play an

equal number of games during a half. The pennant races,

as much as possible, should be decided by the players' actions

on the field and not by bad weather.

Sawatski decision on target

Texas League president Carl Sawatski should be commended

for not handing out any suspensions as penalties for the

fight between Jackson and Tulsa on June 7 which resulted

in eight ejections and injuries to three players.

Sawatski was able to get his message across that fighting

will not be tolerated by handing out stiffer-than-normal

fines, while not affecting the pennant race.

A pennant race shouldn't be decided by a league president.

And the fight didn't warrant any suspensions. The fight

wasn't caused by only one or two players. It was just an

unfortunate incident that can happen when two teams battling

for a pennant play 16 games against each other in a 41-day

span.

Notable

The Minnesota Twins' unconditional release Friday

of Jim Dwyer leaves Keith Hernandez of Cleveland and Garry

Templeton of San Diego as the only former Tulsa Oilers still

playing in the major leagues. The Oilers' last year of existence

was 1976. . .

During the week of June 13-19, former Tulsa Drillers outfielder

Juan Gonzalez hit seven homers for Class AAA Oklahoma City

and was named the American Association's hitter of the week.

Gonzalez is batting .272 and leads the league with 16 homers

and 51 runs batted in. . .

Former Drillers outfielders Dave Stockstill and Rusty Tillman have been

selected to the Mexican League All-Star Game. . .

Former Drillers pitcher Barry Manuel is tied for the Florida

State League lead with 19 saves for Charlotte, a Class A

affiliate of the Texas Rangers. . .

Arkansas first baseman Mike Fitzgerald, who played for the parent St.

Louis Cardinals in 1988, has been given his unconditional release.

Fitzgerald was batting .240 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 41 games. He led

the TL with 108 RBIs in 1987. . .

Outfielder David Green, a member of two St. Louis Cardinals'

pennant winners in the 1980s, is batting .360 with 11 homers

and 45 RBIs for Tabasco of the Mexican League. . .

San Antonio's Henry Rodriguez leads the Texas League with

12 homers and 62 RBIs. Jackson's Chuck Carr has the stolen-base

lead with 31. Anthony Young of Jackson leads the TL with

eight victories and a 1.81 earned-run average. Terry Bross

of Jackson is the saves leader with 17. . .

Gastonia, a Texas Rangers' Class A team, is off to a 6-0

start in the South Atlantic League second-half North Division

race. . .

Oklahoma City 89ers assistant general manager Roger Wexelberg

resigned Friday to become general manager of the independent

Miami Miracle of the Florida State League. Wexelberg had

been with the 89ers since 1984. The 89ers haven't named

a replacement for Wexelberg.