ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After months of debate, the Orioles announced a ticket policy for the exhibition game against the New York Mets that will officially open Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Approximately 32,000 of the 48,000 seats at the new park will be sold for the April 3 game, which will partially benefit the Orioles Children's Charities. Regular-season prices -- ranging from $13 to $4, -- will be charged, with $2 from each ticket going to the fund. There also will be a $1 ticket for children under 12 and senior citizens.
After 13-game season-plan holders have an option to buy two tickets each, the general sale will begin at 9 a.m. March 21.
Tickets will be sold at all regular outlets -- more than 40 Ticketmaster locations (including 23 Hecht Co. stores), the box office at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and via Phonecharge. The Hecht's stores will open an hour early on March 21.
The game, which will have the same 3:05 starting time as the season opener three days later, is a dry run for Opening Day.
"While this is a part of our opening week ceremonies, it is intended to be a dress rehearsal for the Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority," said club president Larry Lucchino. "We want to make sure the park functions well for Opening Day and the games on the early part of the schedule. We want to crawl a little before we walk -- and not fully tax the facility the first time out."
To facilitate advance ticket sales for individual games, the Orioles will keep their Memorial Stadium ticket office open until March 20. The box office at Camden Yards will open for the first time March 16.
Tickets in all price categories will be available for the exhibition game.
Manager John Oates left no doubt yesterday that the exhibition season would not be a trial period for starter Bob Milacki. "There are certain pitchers who don't have to show me anything in order to make the team," Oates said.
"Which category do you think he's in?" Oates replied when asked if Milacki had to prove himself. "I'd say he's pretty safe."
The Orioles are almost strangers to their new exhibition home at Al Lang Stadium. The last time they played here was March 25, 1986, (against the Mets, who used to play at the field).
The Cardinals and Orioles, who are sharing the facilities, also have been infrequent spring-training opponents. Yesterday was the first time the teams have met since March 1985, and the first time at Al Lang since March 22, 1984.
The Orioles will meet the Cardinals only one other time this spring, two weeks from today.
Move is on
As the Orioles were moving their spring-training operations from Sarasota to St. Petersburg, a bigger move was taking place in Baltimore.
The transfer of offices from Memorial Stadium to the new ballpark started yesterday and will continue through the weekend.