Final changes were made to the Baltimore Orioles' and new Washington franchise's schedule released on Friday so the teams would share only 25 home dates. Originally, the schedule had the two teams sharing more than 30 home dates.
"When you add another layer to the scheduling," said Katy Feeney, baseball's senior vice president of scheduling and club relations, "it complicates the overall process. The schedule had been done prior to knowing the Expos were potentially going to play in Washington. There are still more conflicts than you normally have in two team markets."
In order to reduce the number of common home dates, a July 8-10 series the Washington franchise was going to host against the Philadelphia Phillies was moved to Philadelphia. A three-game set to end the year from Sept. 31-Oct. 2 at Philadelphia has been moved to Washington. And a pair of Orioles-Yankees three-game series were flipped as well.
Feeney said it's likely the two teams would share fewer home dates next season if both teams petition to be considered a two-team market such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
"If they are considered a two-team market, it would be less," Feeney said.
Last season, excluding the six interleague games they played against each other, the New York Mets and New York Yankees shared just 10 home dates.
The Orioles will open the season at Camden Yards on April 4 against the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees make their first appearance in Baltimore on April 15. The World Series champion Boston Red Sox end that homestand with a two-game series starting on April 20.
In interleague play, the Orioles will host the Phillies (May 20-22), Houston Astros (June 13-15) and Colorado Rockies (June 17-19), and travel to play the Pittsburgh Pirates (June 6-8), Cincinnati Reds (June 10-12) and Atlanta Braves (June 24-26).
The season ends with a three-game series at Tampa Bay.
Orioles Notes: The Orioles declined to pick up the $3 million option on reliever Buddy Groom, who becomes a free agent. The two sides have expressed interest in trying to work out a deal at a lower price.