If the Orioles find themselves in the opening game of the American League Division Series, there could be a clash with a big concert already scheduled for the same day at the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium.
Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks are scheduled to perform Saturday, Oct. 7, at M&T. Major League Baseball has four division series scheduled to start that day. If the Os win the American League East Division and therefore get a first-round bye, Oct. 7 would be their first postseason game.
The teams have been in communication about the date and are hopeful of heading off any potential problems, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be named because the talks are private.
But it could be complicated because MLB said Tuesday that Oct. 7 is locked in.
While the date can’t change, the league may have some flexibility with the start time. MLB determines game times later, once it knows the matchups.
Under the Orioles’ lease, the team leaves open two weekends each August and September to accommodate Ravens games. Meanwhile, the Ravens’ lease says either team’s playoff games “have scheduling priority” over regular sporting contests.
Neither lease specifically addresses conflicts involving a postseason game and a concert. The Ravens lease does create an opening for an event on the same day as an Orioles game, saying that can happen if the parties agree and provided the state-owned parking lots the teams use between their stadiums are cleared at least 90 minutes before the baseball game. However, the concert is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Spokespersons for the Orioles and Ravens declined to comment.
MLB has all four divisional playoff games scheduled for Oct. 7. It’s possible an Orioles game could be scheduled for the afternoon, ahead of the concert. But MLB, which is aware of the potential conflict, says the baseball game cannot be pushed to the next day — Oct. 8 — when the Ravens will be in Pittsburgh playing the Steelers.
If the Orioles don’t win their division, they still could qualify for the playoffs as a wild card team. They also could host a home game in the wild card series. That is scheduled for Oct. 3-5 — a Tuesday through Thursday when the Ravens aren’t playing.
If Baltimore won the best-of-three wild card series, it would advance to the divisional round and play in — but not host — the Oct. 7 opener. That would eliminate any conflict with the concert.
In 2013, the teams were unable to reach a compromise on a scheduling conflict. The NFL wanted the Super Bowl champion Ravens to follow league tradition by hosting the opening game of the next season. The Orioles were already scheduled to play at home the same date. When no agreement was reached, the Ravens became the first reigning champion to open on the road since 2003, losing to the Denver Broncos.