Since 2001, Oriole fans have seen a lot of their American League East divisional rivals — Boston, New York, Tampa Bay and Toronto. That won’t be the case in 2023.
The Orioles have played 19 games against each team in the AL East—76 in all, nearly half their schedule. Beginning next year, the Orioles will play just 14 games against AL East teams, a total of 56 games.
Fans can get tired seeing the same teams over and over again. The Orioles played the Yankees in 13 of their first 45 games. The front-loaded schedule leaves just six games between the teams in the final four-plus months of the season.
In the current system, each AL teams plays three series at home and away against each other. Theoretically, the series can be spread out, and the Orioles could play the Yankees a series once a month from April-September, but it never works out that way.
The Orioles were supposed to open the season with a series against Toronto at home, but because of the lockout that series will end the season from October 3rd-5th.
They didn’t play the Blue Jays until June 13tth. In the final 101 games, the Orioles and Toronto play 19 times, but not in Baltimore until August 8th. Those quirks should be eliminated with the new schedule.
The Orioles will play a three-game series and a four-game series at home and away with each of the four divisional rivals.
When the 2023 schedule is released, it will be fascinating to see if Major League Baseball will want to begin and end the season with divisional play as they have in the past.
One team in each division must play out of the division at all times, but having most of the Orioles’ games against the AL East in April and September might not be as interesting as spacing them out.
This year, the Orioles played against the AL East exclusively from May 16th-May 30th, 15 consecutive games,
The Orioles are in their longest stretch of not playing the AL East. From June 21st-July 13th, they’ll play 20 straight against teams not in the AL East.
In 2023, the Orioles will play six games—three at home, and three away—with each of the other 10 American League teams. There will no longer be any scheduled four-game series between the Orioles and AL Central and West teams.
Instead of 76 games against the AL East and 70 against the Central and West, it will be 56 games against the East and 60 against the Central and West.
The biggest change is that, like in the NBA and NHL, each major league team will play each other every year.
Instead of 16 interleague games, there will be 46.
The only scheduled two-game series for the Orioles will be the annual home-and-away games against the Nationals, and there will be a three-game series against the other 14 National League teams.
The sites for the interleague games will alternate each year. In the current format, the Orioles went for 17 years without playing at St. Louis, and Milwaukee, the Orioles’ Opening Day opponent this season, previously played in Baltimore in 2003.
In the old format, fans might go for six years or longer without seeing the Dodgers or Giants in Baltimore, but now they’ll see them every other year.
While it will be fun to be guaranteed a trip to Wrigley Field, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia or Oracle Park in San Francisco every other year, it seems as if possible makeup games will be more difficult to reschedule.
For years, the American League and National League had separate identities. There wasn’t interleague play until 1997, and the umpires worked for the league offices, which have since been dissolved, until 2000.
Without interleague play, the All-Star Game and World Series had more of a mystique.
I like interleague play, and I’m eager to see how the new schedule works out. Will it mean more travel for the Orioles? Would they make perhaps three trips to the West Coast?
On the surface, it seems as if playing fewer games against the AL East should help an improving Orioles team. Fans will get to know Nolan Arenado, Jazz Chisholm and Paul Goldschmidt better, but won’t get so see as much of Gerrit Cole, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Aaron Judge.
Will the tradeoff be worth it?