Opening Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards isn't as close as you think.
It is an hour later.
The Baltimore Orioles have pushed back the starting time of their April 6 home opener against the Cleveland Indians to 3:05 p.m., team public relations director Rick Vaughn said yesterday. Vaughn said Orioles officials decided on the switch out of concern for fans, who otherwise might be heading for their cars as downtown rush hour was about to peak.
"We've been working on a number of ways to make Opening Day a really pleasant experience for those coming, and [relieving] traffic is a part of that," Vaughn said.
In mid-August, the Orioles announced the home opener would be a 2:05 start, the usual for the team's home openers. The change appears on "Early Bird" pocket schedules, which the Orioles now are distributing.
The schedule also holds good news for Orioles fans who like to bring their lunch boxes to the ballpark. Next season, the Orioles will play three midweek day games at Oriole Park. The Orioles expect the games will appeal to fans who work downtown and will walk from their offices to the games.
The three midweek day games are a significant increase for the Orioles. In the last three years, the team has played only one midweek lunch-hour game per season.
Next season's midweek day games, with 12:15 p.m. game times, will be: Tuesday, May 5 against Texas; Wednesday, July 1 against Milwaukee; and Thursday, Aug. 20 against Seattle.