There will be no Orioles baseball played at Camden Yards on March 31. With no new Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated in advance of the MLB-imposed 5pm deadline on Tuesday, the league chose to cancel the first two series of the season rather than end the lockout it is imposing on the players. Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the cancellations in a press conference as the deadline passed.
The cancellation of two series means the Orioles first home and road series are wiped out. Games scheduled for March 31, April 2 and 3 at home against the Blue Jays, and April 4-6 on the road against the Red Sox, are gone. Manfred claimed that there is no leeway to rearrange the baseball calendar. This was one of many claims from his conference that appeared to clash with an objective view of reality. MLB can reschedule whatever it wants.
The result of the cancellation is that the Orioles season is now scheduled to open on the road against the Rays on April 8. The home opener in Baltimore will not come until April 11 - a Monday - against the Brewers. It is entirely possible this is not the last such announcement before big league baseball returns.
Presumably, this sets up another week before the next time the league will impose a deadline for the players to either accept an unfair deal or lose more games. The players have previously communicated that if there are lost games in the 2022 season, they will not agree to any expanded playoffs for this year. Their resolve on that stance will be tested now that the league is putting the screws to them.
This sucks. It sucks all the more that this is happening while Manfred gets in front of the cameras, grins about everything, and claims, “The concerns of our fans are at the very top of our consideration list.” This is manifestly not the case.
The ongoing lockout continues to only impact 40-man roster players. Minor league teams will still be proceeding towards their seasons. The first Orioles affiliate to play will be the Triple-A Norfolk Tides on April 5. Bowie, Aberdeen, and Delmarva are set to open their seasons on April 8, the same as the Orioles. The farm team schedules are not subject to any further cancellation. I’d give better odds of those teams playing on those days than I would for the Orioles playing on April 8.
As of this writing, the Orioles have not announced any information about refunds for tickets to the canceled Opening Day or other games from that first home series.