Baltimore Orioles: Looking ahead to the 2012 schedule
We’re almost a month-and-a-half into the offseason of Baltimore Orioles baseball. Give or take, we’re roughly 100 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to camp! Speaking for myself, it seems that once we get to Thanksgiving all you have to do is blink and it’s New Year’s and thus the holiday season is over. Once we hit the new year we’ve reached the NFL playoffs, and pitchers and catchers generally report two weeks after the Super Bowl. (Question: is Janet Jackson performing this year?) Again speaking from my own experience, the bad news is that the offseason seems to slow down at that point. We trudge along until we see spring training games begin, but even then we’re really doing nothing more than looking at box scores save for the occasional game that’s televised on MASN.
In due course we’ll arrive at 3 PM on April 6th when the O’s will open the 2012 season and the 20th at Oriole Park with a game against the Minnesota Twins. This past season I wasn’t a big fan of the league switching it’s Opening Day around and starting on a Thursday/Friday as opposed to a Monday/Tuesday. As a traditionalist, I don’t often take kindly to these kinds of changes. However I suppose that this year I’ve come to terms with it, and in fact I kind of like the fact that the Birds are opening at home on a Friday. Can you say sick day equals long weekend Oriole fans?! In terms of interleague play, the O’s will do their normal home-and-home series with the Nationals, return to Atlanta to take on the Braves for the second straight season, and visit the Mets. The Orioles will also host the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates at Camden Yards in June. Having said that, it seems that the Birds will be making some historical rounds in the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards, as the Mets, Pirates, and Phillies are all Oriole World Series opponents.
After the Twins turn through the Yard on opening weekend, the O’s will immediately get into their division schedule with a series against the Yankees at home, and Toronto on the road. One frustrating aspect of the first couple of weeks is that the Birds have a ten-game road swing (which includes a stop in Anaheim) in the first three weeks of the season following the six-game homestand to start the season. This is certainly a product of an unbalanced schedule, and every team seems to have a rough block of road games at various points. So in that sense at least the Orioles are getting that out of the way early on. Furthermore, the team will be out of town for the second two weeks of April, when we generally see the threat of rain and chilly temperatures in Baltimore which will provide for fewer rainouts. However that’s still a rough way to start the season. It seems as if the Orioles get stuck into something like this on an annual basis; in 2009 the Birds played on 17 straight days before finally getting a day off, while some teams got three off days in the first week of the season. As we all remember, the season was all but over by the end of that 17-game stretch.
I would encourage all citizens of Birdland to naturally get out to the yard as often as possible in 2012, however to also consider catching the team on the road. This should be easy enough given that the Birds will play three games in Washington in over a weekend in May! However if you’re looking for other road trips, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Tampa are all close by and fairly affordable. I would highly recommend going to Cleveland. It’s a great city, great ballpark, and very friendly people (just stay away from two names: LeBron James and John Elway). Ultimately you play 162 games regardless of when and where; as the Orioles taught the BoSox at the end of 2011, you have to be ready to play and finish all 162 of them!
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