An hour of my work day on Tuesday was well spent going through the 2015 schedule and marking off on my calender the days I would need to take off or “work from home” in order to miss as little action as possible. After becoming intimately familiar with the schedule, I figured I would pass on some of the more notable schedule quirks for the 2015 season.
· Not a quirk per say, but the Orioles will play their second straight Patriot’s Day game in Boston, which means an 11:05 AM start on Monday, April 20th. Fortunately, the Birds will play at 1:05 PM the day before unlike last season when they had to endure an 8:05 PM to 11:05 AM ridiculously quick turnaround.
· That won’t be a problem this year because the O’s do not have a game on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in either April or May (which is as far out as ESPN as released the schedule). It will be all Sunday afternoon starts for the first two months of the season at the very least.
· That does not mean the schedule is completely void of oddball Sunday start times. For some hard-to-figure reason (at least without additional information), the Birds close out the regular season on Sunday, October 4th by hosting the Yankees at 3:05 PM. Why that one Sunday game is pushed back 90-minutes from the normal Sunday start time is anyone’s guess.
· The season finale does have some competition for the most random start time of the season. On Wednesday May 27th, the Astros will be in town to close out a three game series. That series finale is currently scheduled for a 4:35 PM start time. Both the Astros and Orioles have the next day off. The O’s stay at home for their weekend series while the Astros head back to Houston for theirs. That eliminates long travel as an excuse. If there is a major event scheduled in Baltimore for that evening, one would think the game would be moved to 12:35 PM rather than an early evening time. I cannot recall the last time the Orioles started a weekday game at 4:35 other than for an unscheduled double header forced by a postponement.
· While this has been discussed ever since the 2015 preliminary schedule was announced late last season, it is worth reiterating that the Orioles will play six straight games in New York from May 4th through the 10th. Seems as good of a time as any for an easy road trip for fans living in Baltimore.
· The Orioles have only one scheduled weekday get-away-day home game this year. On Thursday May 21st, the Mariners and Orioles will wrap up their series with a 12:35 start.
· The team does have seven road weekday get-away-day games on tap. The most noteworthy is Thursday June 18th. The Orioles finish out their abbreviated two game road series versus the Phillies in Philly that afternoon at 1:05 PM. That start time makes it convenient to catch both games of the series live (Wednesday is a 7:05 PM start) while taking only one day off of work. Or if you prefer (and I think this is the route we might go), you can forgo a night in a Philly hotel and simply catch the Thursday game without having to rush up or down I-95 before or after the game.
· The seemingly annual 3-game road trip nestled in between two normal length home stands takes place at the end of May this year. After nine games at home, the Birds fly south briefly for a 3-game set with the Marlins before heading right back home for six games against the Astros and Rays.
· Another interesting note from that stretch of games – there is an off day in between each home series during that period. After the Jays leave town on May 14th, there is an off day, then a 3-game set versus the Angels, then another off day before they finish off the home stand with three versus Seattle. After the brief detour to Florida, the six-game home stand that follows includes a day off in between the two 3-game series. That is a lot of days off in a short period with no travel involved.
· The organization will play its first ever September inter-league series when they visit the Nationals late that month. That means it will be Buck’s first shot at using his expanded roster under National League rules. If the situation calls for a tightly managed game, it will be interesting to see how many pitching changes and double switches are rolled out with the extra personnel.
· All told, there is not much to complain about in terms of travel. There does not appear to be any unnecessary zigzagging across the country that usually crops up at least once per season. After last year’s incredibly trying early-season schedule, the lack of anything on the initial schedule to get heated about is very much a welcomed change.