Orioles' postseason run leads to some juggling of schedules

  • Chrissy Forbes, center, from Abingdon brought her daughter Gabriella, 2 1/2 and the "Kitty" sign in front of her to Oriole Park for the Orioles' arrival after their weekend sweep of the Detroit Tigers.
Chrissy Forbes, center, from Abingdon brought her daughter… (Algerina Perna, Baltimore…)
October 15, 2014|By Chris Kaltenbach | The Baltimore Sun

For Nancy and Bob Reigle, the call came down to America's Colonial showplace versus the Orioles in the playoffs.

"We have wanted to go to Williamsburg for some time," said Nancy Reigle, a retired teacher in the Baltimore County public schools who had scheduled a trip to begin Oct. 20 — the day before the start of the World Series. "I was keeping an eye on the schedules, and then I noticed that the American League has home field advantage [for the World Series], and that they could be playing in Baltimore that Tuesday and Wednesday."

It was no contest. That trip to Virginia will just have to wait.

Like plenty of O's fans throughout Baltimore, the Reigles and their well-laid plans found themselves at odds with Orioles magic. Saturday's Das Best Oktoberfest, set for the parking lots outside M&T Bank Stadium? Moved to Rash Field. Saturday morning's American Heart Association Heart Walk, set for the stadiums area? Moved to Nov. 2.

Got big plans for the next three weekends? You just might want to start thinking about alternatives.

That's what the Reigles did. Sunday night, just one day before they would have had to pay to change their hotel reservations, Nancy Reigle made the call — clearly expecting the O's to make it past the Royals to the World Series. Williamsburg would have to wait a couple of weeks, until the O's playoff and World Series runs are safely in the rear-view mirror.

"When they won the division, I realized there could be trouble," she said, her playoff tickets for this weekend safely in hand. "I just didn't want to be out of town when things were going on here."

Not that anyone, outside of the most churlish, is complaining. Orange-and-black fever is raging throughout the city, and if that calls for a little rescheduling, no sweat.

"We're a team of very loyal and devoted Orioles fans," says the heart association's Danielle Clifford. "I'm going to be at the game myself."

Things, of course, remain fluid. Barring nasty weather, the schedule-makers at Major League Baseball have decreed that Games 1 and 2 of the American League Championship Series will be played Friday and Saturday in Baltimore. If the series is extended beyond Game 5, Games 6 and 7 are scheduled for Oriole Park at Camden Yards for next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 17 and 18.

Then, if the O's make it to the World Series, Games 1 and 2 will be set for Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 21 and 22, with Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) slated here on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 28 and 29.

And don't forget the away games. You'll definitely want to catch them on the TV or radio — regardless of any other plans you might have.

Like getting married.

"Our DJ will be updating us with the score during the reception," says Jeff Mahady, 35, who will be marrying Katherine Backoff, 29, on Oct. 25 — the same day as Game 4 of the World Series — at Westminster Hall, just a few blocks from the ballpark. "Also, all the groomsmen will be wearing orange dress socks. We are hoping to add some Oriole Magic to an already memorable evening."

Even births are affected by the playoffs: Orioles closer Zach Britton and his wife, Courtney, had to schedule the birth of their son around the team's postseason schedule. Zander Lee Britton was born late Tuesday night in Burbank, Calif.

Jan Hardesty, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Stadium Authority, said schedulers there always consider the possibility that events set for the stadiums area might not come off as planned. Such scenarios are included in contracts governing use of the property, with the understanding that stadium events — like playoff games —take precedence.

"Our facilities folks are very forward-thinking and always plan contingencies," Hardesty said in an email. "We are in constant communication with our partners to find ways to accommodate event planners when there is a change in plans."

Case in point: the Oct. 18 Baltimore Running Festival, set to start just outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards, at South Paca and Camden streets, and end on the parking lots between the park and M&T Bank Stadium. Since that's the same day as a possible game 7 of the ALCS, plans changed.

In short: Start times for all festival events will be moved up an hour, with races going off between 7 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. Should there be an ALCS game 6, and because race officials cannot afford to wait until that game is over to make a decision on the Oct. 18 race, finish lines will close at 1 p.m. and runners who are not finished will be asked to move to the sidewalk; the race course will be shifted to avoid going along Eutaw Street through Camden Yards; and the Runners Only Compound and Maryland Live! Casino Celebration Village will be relocated.

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