Baltimore Orioles: What to make of the upside-down series?


We all know the serious circumstances in the city of Baltimore which resulted in the Baltimore Orioles’ current series being moved to Tropicana Field – the home of the opponent. So let’s move past that for just a moment, and let’s also move on from the other potential locations for this series. What do you, the fans, think of the concept of the “home games on the road?”

As I’ve said previously, this is rare but it’s not unprecedented. Toronto played a home series at Philadelphia in 2010, and Miami (then the Florida Marlins) played a home set in Seattle a year later. Incidentally, both of those series’ took on a similar tone as this one – with the generic presentation, that is. What’s a bit more common however is the end of a suspended game being completed in the opposing team’s park prior to the teams’ next meeting (if it happens to be in the opposite city). We saw that last year with San Francisco and Cincinnatti.

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We also of course saw a similar scene in the NFL after Hurricane Katrina when New Orleans hosted the NY Giants at the Meadowlands. So if anything, it seems that of late the move has generally been to play in the opponents’ venue when something unforeseen comes up. Some (myself potentially included) might argue that there has to be a better alternative than that, however I digress.

I’m calling this the “upside-down series” in that the game is in Tampa, however the Orioles are of course getting all of the normal home team benefits – financially and otherwise. I would submit that in baseball the crowd isn’t as big a deal as it might be in the NFL in terms of crowd noise being distracting. However one thing that does happen in baseball is that the dimensions of each park are different.

Last night Tampa got a base hit with a slow roller up the third base line that in my view was held up by the turf. At Oriole Park Manny Machado would have had a legitimate shot at an out. And there are any number of other potential nuances which could occur – especially at the Trop with the roof.

Nevertheless, I would argue that Tampa’s done a great job in presenting these games with the O’s as the home team. The one little nod to the Tampa Rays (aside from the fact that their fans are the majority) seems to be the fact that their players’ walk up music is being played when they come to bat. Not that it’s overly important, but I do question why that’s the case. For what it’s worth, Tampa is also retaining it’s home clubhouse, dugout, and bullpen.

Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Nevertheless, the Orioles’ at-bat songs are played as well as they come to the plate, and of course the O’s are wearing the home whites and Tampa the road grays. Obviously the Orioles have their last at-bats, and the PA announcer is offering a rather sterile or generic presentation as opposed to pepping it up for the Tampa Rays. Furthermore and rather notably, John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” is playing during the seventh inning stretch.

So what do you, the fans, make of this setup? Again, the circumstances surrounding it are irrelevant to this discussion. I’m a baseball traditionalist, and in general I’m not a fan of nuance that could in theory turn things upside-down. Well the fact is that you can’t get more upside-down than this. But I do feel that it adds a unique dimmension to the games. Perhaps more notable in that sense is the series in 2011 between the Marlins and Mariners. That was an interleague series that was to be played in an NL Park; by virtue of the inverted nature of the series, Seattle fans got to see their team play by NL rules in their own park.

But are you the fans “okay” with this? Obviously it’s not something that’s ever going to happen a lot in baseball, or any other sport. But as we all undoubtedly know, scheduling conflicts and real-life circumstances can happen from time-to-time. Should an inverted home series as such be the “go-to” in these situations?

Next: Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Live Stream, Start Time, TV Info and More 5/2/15