Baltimore Orioles: Is there a need for more weekday matinee’s?

Baltimore Orioles fans are probably asking themselves, “…Domenic, what in the name of pearl are you writing?!” And I get it folks – I really do! I’m the first one to tell you that it’s sometimes called fluff. You know, a column for the sake of writing a column. But when you’re marketing a new column such as I’m doing with The Orange Crush, you do what you have to do.

In looking at the Orioles’ 2017 schedule at this point, we see no times for the most part listed on the games. Those haven’t been decided as of yet, although I presume that the Orioles will for the most part stick to what they’ve done in the recent past. Monday-Friday home games at 7 PM, Saturdays at 4 or 7 PM, and Sundays at 1:30 PM. But should they consider a change?

And by a change, I don’t mean anything overly drastic. However weekday matinee’s seem to be a rarity in Baltimore. The Orioles occasionally will play an afternoon game during the week, but generally on the road. They’re almost always on a Wednesday or Thursday, and usually during the 1 PM (local time) hour.

I’m kind of a throwback to previous generations in that I have so much love and respect for the fact that the roots of the game are in afternoon games. However I recognize why the majority of games can’t be matinee’s any longer – not unless teams want attendance to dip so far that the sport itself becomes obscure. However an afternoon game on a weekday is really a special treat for fans, and if you sprinkle a few throughout the schedule over the course of 81 home games you probably won’t see a huge attendance dip.

Most teams schedule matinee’s on getaway days, which of course are the final games of a series. One or in many cases both teams are on the move immediately following the game. Often times the home team will schedule an afternoon game so that they and/or their opponent can get out of the city and onto their next destination early. In fact, the rare occasions that the Orioles do schedule afternoon games during the week are generally when they’re headed out west immediately following the game.

But speaking for myself, I think it’s something they should consider. It gives fans the opportunity to perhaps take a vacation day mid-week and head out to see a ballgame. It gives them the impression that they’re playing hooky or getting away with something. But that aside it’s a simple change from the status quo. And while players are creatures of habit, sometimes a change in the status quo is needed in the monotony of a 162-game season.

I see little chance of this happening, but one can hope. Presumably the Orioles have done studies and thus have come to the conclusion that they get better gate revenues for night games. And that probably goes without saying. But here and there, it probably wouldn’t hurt. Incidentally, I think that the weekend game times should stay right where they are. Saturday night games are perfect for a community like Baltimore, and obviously most Sunday games will be in the afternoon anyways. I could see moving Sunday games back to 1 PM, but now we’re splitting hairs!

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