After an imperfect weather forecast, the Orioles’ delayed home opener against the New York Yankees will be played on Friday at 3:05 p.m. On Wednesday afternoon, with forecasts showing a high probability of severe rain for the scheduled Thursday opener, the Orioles decided to postpone the game for a day.
There wasn’t any rain until about 3 ½ hours after the scheduled start time. Temperatures were in the low- to mid-80s, and while no rain is in the forecast for Friday, the predicted game time temperature is 58 degrees.
Dean Kremer, who started the Orioles’ second game at Boston on April 1st, will start against New York’s Clark Schmidt.
Parijita Bastola, a Severna Park native and contestant on Season 22 of “The Voice,” will sing the national anthem. Maryland Governor Wes Moore, who threw out the first pitch before an Orioles game in Sarasota on March 10th, will be accompanied by his children, Mia and James, to throw out the first pitch on Friday.
Merrill Heim, who loudly asks fans: “Are you fired up?” will be recognized as the Mo Gaba Fan of the Year.
The Orioles have already played six games, splitting them, losing two of three in Boston and winning two of three at Texas. There have been some emotional moments. In their opener, the Orioles took a big lead and held on for a 10-9 win.
In the game that Kremer started, the Orioles held an 8-7 lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth until leftfielder Ryan McKenna dropped a fly ball for an error and Félix Bautista allowed a game-winning two-run home run to the Red Sox’ Adam Duvall.
After Kyle Bradish was hit by a line drive in Monday’s game, the Orioles were suddenly in need of a starter for Wednesday, and Grayson Rodriguez made his long-awaited debut. Although the Orioles lost, 5-2, Rodriguez, who had a rocky spring training, pitched four solid innings after allowing two runs in the first.
That’s quite a lot of emotion for six games, and perhaps it was to the Orioles’ benefit to have an unscheduled offday on Thursday to settle in to their seasonal homes, whether the forecast was accurate or not.
In Brandon Hyde’s five seasons as Orioles manager, the team has opened on the road in each of them. In 2020, the pandemic delayed the season’s start until July 24th, and last year, the Orioles were supposed to open at home against Toronto, but the lockout prevented the season’s start, and they began at Tampa Bay instead.
After last season’s surprising 31-game turnaround, Oriole fans can’t be displeased with a 3-3 start, even if it should be 4-2. A year ago, the Orioles lost five of their first six games and didn’t reach .500 until the season was more than halfway over. On July 12th, they were 44-44.
The new rules have been in play for a week, but there are other things new at Oriole Park this year.
Game times: The Orioles are starting Monday-Thursday weeknight games before Memorial Day and after Labor Day at 6:35 p.m.
With the new rules speeding up games — 15 seconds between pitches with no one on base and 20 when there are baserunners — it’s possible that some games could be over by 9 p.m. That could encourage parents to take their children to weeknight games while school is in session.
Friday and Saturday night games will still begin at 7:05 p.m., and weeknight games between Memorial Day and Labor Day will still start then, too. All Sunday afternoon games will begin at 1:35 p.m., except for July 2nd, which will start at 12:05 p.m. because it will be streamed on Peacock.
There are eight weekday afternoon games, including the opener with start times ranging from 12:35 p.m. on May 18th to 3:05 p.m. on Friday and May 30th. Other weekday games begin at 1:05 p.m.
Four Saturday games, from May 27th-July 1st, will begin at 4:05 p.m.
What’s new to eat? Longtime concessionaire Delaware North has given way to Levy. Boog’s Barbecue returns on Eutaw Street and so does Jimmy’s near section 72.
The 410 menu will include hot dogs, popcorn, Cracker Jack, peanuts and beverages for $4.10.
There’s the Yard Dog, which will be sold on the center-field roof deck and “For the Birds,” new items which include the Buffalo Bird Dog, B’More Chicken Box, the Havana, Hot Honey Pepperoni Pizza, O’s Hand-Rolled Pretzel and Crab Pretzel Boule.
There’s also a redesigned team store with many choices of Orioles apparel and the SuperBook Bar and Restaurant, which opens on Friday. It’s in the space where Dempsey’s restaurant was.
Fans can bring their own food as long as it’s in a clear, approved bag, one per fan. Fans can also bring in sealed, plastic non-alcoholic beverage that’s no larger than 20 ounces.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB