Baltimore Orioles: Tough hours in Birdland

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Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3) Home games in Tampa

The 2015 riots in Baltimore didn’t only affect series’ against the BoSox and ChiSox – the Orioles were supposed to close out that home stand over the weekend of May 1-3 with a visit from Tampa. However again, that series was unable to be played as originally scheduled due to the fact that there was a curfew in the city, and the police obviously had other concerns. There was a lot of talk of various contingencies, including playing Friday and Saturday’s games in the afternoon (along with Sunday’s previously scheduled day game), or potentially moving the series to either Washington or Philadelphia. (At the end of the day, apparently neither the Nationals or Phillies were contacted about using either ballpark.)

So that weekend’s series ended up being played at Tampa’s Tropicana Field – with the Orioles classified as the home team. You can kind of look at it as an upside-down type of weekend in a sense; the games were played in Tampa’s home park, with the Orioles wearing their home whites (and Tampa their road grays), hitting last in the inning, and thus having the advantages of being at home – between the lines, that is. They also collected all of the gate and concessions revenue, after Tampa had covered their costs for producing the games.

At the time, I thought this was the least of all evils. However I’ve rethought that just a bit. On one hand, it is very difficult to be overly critical given the circumstances. MLB, the Orioles, and the Tampa Rays had to come up with a solution very quickly to a bad situation. However if Washington wasn’t an option for whatever reason, what they could and should have done is moved the games to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota – the spring home of the Orioles. This probably would have given the Orioles some semblance of home field advantage (given how Sarasota supports them), and it would have been a ballpark with which they were familiar in terms of it being their home field every spring. But again, it’s tough to be critical given the circumstances.

But the fact that the O’s were on the field at all helped the city and community of Baltimore. They shone through in a time when the city needed any ounce of daylight it could muster, and the Orioles themselves really picked the city up when it was sorely needed. The fact that they took two-of-three from Tampa to close out the “home stand” didn’t hurt either.

Next: Baltimore Orioles open the Battle of the Beltways vs. DC

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