Orioles push Friday games to 7:35, cite fans' preference for later time

Also, most Saturday dates to begin at 4:35, club says

February 07, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Figuring there's no reason to stop after giving their lineup a different look this season, the Orioles also have changed the starting time of their Friday night home games.

Creatures of habit, beware.

For the first time in six years, these games will begin at 7:35 p.m. rather than 7:05 - a concession to public demand.

"It stemmed from surveys we conducted," said club spokesman Bill Stetka. "We found that fans liked the idea of later starts on Fridays so they would have more time to prepare, getting home from work and getting the kids ready."

Night games Monday through Thursday will continue to start at 7:05. The season begins April 4 with a nationally televised opener against the Boston Red Sox at 8:05 p.m. at Camden Yards.

In addition, most of the Orioles' Saturday home games will begin at 4:35 p.m., with the exceptions coming May 15 against Anaheim (7:05), June 12 against San Francisco (3:15) and July 24 against Minnesota (6:05).

The starting times for two other Saturday games, May 8 against Cleveland and Sept. 11 against the New York Yankees, haven't been determined.

"Fans like the idea of day games because they like to have their evenings free," Stetka said. "At the same time, we have to be cognizant of the national TV window."

The Orioles made one other change: Their second game of the season, April 6 against the Red Sox, has been moved to 3:05 p.m.

Individual game tickets for the 2004 season will be on sale today from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and tomorrow from noon until 5 p.m., at the Camden Yards box office. They also can be purchased today during FanFest, which runs from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Regular box office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon until 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available for all home games except the April 4 opener against the Red Sox.

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