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September 15, 2010

Breaking down the Orioles' 2011 schedule; it's brutal, folks

Major League Baseball made its 2011 schedule official yesterday, and by now you probably know the highlights (especially since we told you most of them during the unofficial phase a couple months ago).

The Orioles open up in Tampa again, this time April 1, which is a Friday. That’s a new twist to the entire baseball schedule.

The home opener is Monday, April 4 against the Detroit Tigers, against whom the Orioles will wrap up their road season in September. Strange, huh? The Orioles finish their season at home with three against the Boston Red Sox.

Also, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds will play at Camden Yards for the first time in 2011. The rest of the Orioles’ interleague schedule includes trips to Atlanta and Pittsburgh and the usual home-road with the Washington Nationals.

Here are some other things that jumped out at me:

September will be as brutal as always. Sixteen of their 26 September games will be on the road. Nineteen September games are against the AL East (six with Boston and Tampa, four with Toronto and three in the Bronx).

The two non-East clubs the Orioles get in September? The Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers, and my guess is those two teams won’t be down two years in a row.

Another painful quirk of the 2011 schedule: Five, three-city road trips. Ouch. The Orioles had three this season. Three of those 2011 three-city trips come after Aug. 15. And they have an inhumane trek to end the first half: Go to Atlanta for three; fly to Texas for three, and then fly all the way back east to Boston for four. All without an off day.

This is stating the obvious, given the past 13 years, but making a run in 2011 won’t be easy.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 12:00 PM | | Comments (22)
        

Comments

If there is one silver lining about having to play St. Louis and Cincinnati it's that they have to come to Baltimore, which means the Orioles get the last AB. Obviously that's always an advantage going into the 9th inning or later with a tie ballgame, which is especially welcomed playing against upper-echelon teams.

Also if the Orioles want to make themselves a contender, make it so that fans and writers for other teams are saying the same thing about times when their club plays the Orioles, "that's going to be a tough part of the schedule."

Bring it on. You think Showalter is going to be boo hooing over the schedule? The Cardinals aren't exactly lighting the world on fire right now and the Reds play in the NL Central a far cry from the AL East. Everything else is the same as always. This woe is me attitude sounds like a built in excuse one that Buck surely won't let his players use.

Inhumane's a little strong - since they know well in advance what the schedule is, the families can plan out enough clean underwear. That's actually not too bad - conversely, it means longer homestands. Wouldn't you rather have an off day at home? Use this as a positive. the ravens open on the road two straight and on a short week to boot. Get through it and you're all the better, Inhumane, no way.

Also - seeing the Redbirds in Baltimore will give me a chance to act like DeNiro in the Fan. I detest Tony LaRussa, who a) had all the steroid guys and denied culpability, b) ruined watching games by using relief pitchers for one batter at a time all the time, and c) falling asleep drunk with his foot on the gas at a stoplight. And, d) is responsible for a lot of the beanball wars...his clubs are always in the middle of that stuff. Overrated indeed!

It is long past time for MLB to bring back the balanced schedule, and end the interleague play gimmick. Baseball was much better when the leagues only met in exhibition play and the World Series.

Dan, are you becoming a wimpy reporter for the Orioles or what?

The schedule reflects lives of mega-millionaires so what's so 'brutal' about it? If these players can't take the 'brutal' schedule, they should not make millions then!

I just may take weekend roadtrips out to KC and maybe Chicago next season.

BTW, Showalter give me some hope for a better 2011.

GO BIRDS.

.

Everyone was flinching after we had a great August, anticipating the "brutal" September schedule.

We've weathered that just fine so far. The team is clearly getting better, strongly aided by a new, excellent manager.

If the Orioles are going to be good next year, they will be good, REGARDLESS of the schedule. If they are going to be bad next year, they will be bad, REGARDLESS of the schedule. Much ado about nothing.

.

I think 'brutal' is a little bit strong. Some of these teams (the non-AL East) you really have no idea how good they might be next year.

On the plus side, only two West coast swings next year.

yes, but this time next season the YANKEES and tampa will be trying to catch the ORIOLES who will be on top.

"Inhumane." Seriously? Who cares! The players don't fly the plane! These guys are millionaires. And it's not like the September opponents are any surprise -- it's going to be mostly AL East opponents no matter what.

The only way the schedule would be favorable for the Orioles would be if they played 40 games against KC and 40 interleague games vs Pittsburgh.

If you want to write about the schedule, why not write a post about the merits of the "unbalanced" schedule that MLB follows? Otherwise, you're wasting our time. I read your blog because I'm bored at work. You could at least entertain me for free.

We're in the AL East, get used to it.

I second that longer road trips would also have to mean longer homestands somewhere else.

ATL -TEX -BOS is easy, there's only one time zone change! I've done HNL-LAX-IAD-LAX-IAD over a 3 day span for work before. Cry me a river!

The unbalanced schedule is always going to be "unfair" to teams such as the Orioles, for all the reasons so often stated on these blogs. I did notice that the O's make two trips in Kansas City, which is unusual. I live a l-o-n-g car trip from KC, and before the advent of the Rockies in the NL, I used to drive there to see Baltimore-Kansas City matchups, particularly in the hey-days of both franchises. Maybe I'll see the Birds sweep 6 from the Royals next season.

That said, let's go to 2 leagues of 15 teams; play the other 14 clubs in your league 11 times each (that's 151), and 11 of them 12 times each, to get to 162. Rotate the 12th game around to even things out over a period of years. Drop interleague. Top Top 6 teams make the playoffs in each league, #1 and #2 get first round byes. 3 plays 6, 4 plays 5 in a 3 out of 5. 1 plays lowest seed, 2 plays next lowest in bes of 7; winners play best of 7 to go to WS. In each round, #1 seed gets two extra home games (2-2-3) to reward finishing first. To keep the season length intact, require each franchise to schedule 2 or 3 doubleheaders, either day-night, or traditional, according to their attendance numbers.

Simple.

You're right, Dan.

The 2011 Orioles schedule is "brutal" - to their opponents!

These young people truly "work" 3 hours daily. The travel in luxury and are paid terrific wages...even if the minimum. I think they can handle the schedule. Is is much less than most ordinary folks do every week of their lives.

It is fitting the Reds should come to Baltimore. After all, it was their bone headed ST relocation that made it possible for the Birds to land in Sarasota.

Those dunderheads decided they could afford to move another 1,000 miles away from their fan base. Then again, they are still in the playoff hunt, so there's that.

Final point: when will fandom finally have had enough of the unbalanced schedule?


The schedule may be tough, but the Birds are starting to realize they are good .After all being intimidated only puts you in the losing column.The Orioles are a Good ball club. I'm looking forward to backing the Birds in 2011 !!!!!!

You want a brutal road trip? I did 17 different cities in 3 days, with meetings in each one. I didnt have anyone carrying my bag, my gear, or making my local transportation arrangements. I didnt get a per diem that most families could survive on as income. Oh and i didnt make a min of 400K+. Spare me the brutality of playing a few baseball games. OMG 10 GAMES in a row, poor babies!

I think this post is amazing. If this schedule had come out two months ago we would all be complaining how brutal the schedule is saying "Woe is me, the AL East isn't fair, balance the schedule, more profit sharing for all." Now that the O's are winning we're all like, "Oh bring it on, it's not so bad, we can do it, fear the O's." All of a sudden fans are backing the O's instead of making excuses...

Colorado Oriole,

You might have to rethink that. If you have 15 team leagues, you have to have an interleague series everyday. Either that or have extremely long season.

Dan the Orioles have a 26-15 record since Showalter took over. Now do still think the Orioles should be moved out of the AL East and with this record do you really think their 2011 schedule is all that "brutal" as you label it?

BTW, the 26-15 record so far is Earl Weaver winning percentage of 63%.

Now do you also think the Orioles still can not compete in the AL East with that kind of record so far?

What a change from 41 games ago! Pitching and Buck have clearly given the fans reason for hope. Now, keep it going in the offseason. Again, how cool is it that the Os would be on a pace for 102 wins had they played the same earlier as they have under Buck?! Astounding!

Why worry? These Show'Birds could beat the '27 Yankees!

Look, we have to play the Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Rays, but they gotta also play us.

Hold your heads up high. We've been waiting for this turnaround for a long time now.

Still need 1st and 3rd basemen, and an ace to complement our current roster. I am thinking that Angelos is ready to win, too.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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