Baltimore Orioles close “home stand” vs. Tampa


If you thought Wednesday’s home game with no fans was a strange sight, wait until tonight’s series with Tampa kicks off to wrap up the home stand. Technically I can say that because the Baltimore Orioles are the home team. But you see the irony I’m sure…they’re the home team in Tampa at Tropicana Field. And the opponent is Tropicana Field’s actual tenant, the Tampa Rays. Things are getting “interestinger, and interestinger.”

This type of situation is actually not unprecedented. In 2010 there was a G20 summit in Toronto over the weekend that the Blue Jays were scheduled to play the Phillies at Rogers Centre. Given the security needs for such a summit, the games were relocated to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Toronto was the home team, wore their home whites (while the Phillies wore their road grays), and hit last in the inning. (Incidentally for me the lasting image of that series was the Phanatic taunting the Phillies since they were the visitor.)

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One year later a U2 concert at Sun Life Stadium in South Florida forced the Marlins to move a weekend home series with Seattle to Safeco Field. Similarly, the Marlins were classified as the home team and they wore the home uniforms while hitting last. Obviously the fans in the stands at the games were heavily tilted towards the visitors – the true host team. In both cases the only thing that remained constant in an apparently finite upside-down world was that the host team continued to use the home dugout and bullpen.

So in terms of on-the-field things, the Orioles will be the home team. But they’ll be far from home in reality, as Tropicana Field isn’t their home park. Let me be clear; while there were other alternatives to moving this series to Tampa, all of the parties involved did the best that they could in re-arranging the schedule given the circumstances. One could argue that Washington or Philadephia would have been better options than Tampa, however while there might be some legitimate questions to raise I don’t feel it’s fair to be overly critical of the methodology used by the different entities (including the Orioles and MLB).

I’m not sure if this was even strongly considered, but another interesting option might have been Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota – the spring home of the O’s. That would have truly given the Orioles the feel of home field, as the fans presumably would have been on their side (Sarasota seems to embrace the O’s very well each year), and the team would have been familiar with the nuances in the field as well as the facilities and so forth. But what’s done is done, and these are all league games that count towards the standings. The O’s need to make the best of this that they can, so as not to find themselves one or two games out of the playoff race and questioning if things could have been different.

Speaking of Sarasota, I recognize that there might be some Sarasota-area Orioles fans who might be interested in attending some of the games this weekend. So the ticket information is as follows:

"All tickets will be sold as General Admission tickets in the lower level onlythe Gate 1 Tropicana Field Box Office or over the phone at 888-FAN-RAYS and 1-800-745-3000."

Ticket prices are as follows:

"Friday, May 1                    7:05 p.m.                  General Admission $15Saturday, May 2                7:05 p.m.                  General Admission $18Sunday, May 3                  1:35 p.m.                  General Admission $15"

The Orioles will reimburse the Rays for their expenses in operating the game out of gate and concessions revenues, but

Courtesy of Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

after that all of the profits will be collected by the Orioles. (For the record, I’d like to see 100% of the proceeds donated to relief efforts in the city of Baltimore.) Chris Tillman will get the start tonight for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Alex Colome. Needless to say, it’ll be an interesting weekend to close out the “home stand,” along with closing out a very sad and bizarre week in Baltimore.