- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 4, 2004

The Baltimore Orioles and the new Washington team likely will have a number of conflicting home dates next season despite efforts by Major League Baseball officials to avoid such conflicts, sources close to MLB said yesterday.

The Orioles’ schedule was supposed to be released Monday but was delayed while officials worked to reduce the number of times Camden Yards and RFK Stadium would have games the same day. The Orioles’ 2005 schedule is expected to be released today, the sources said.

“They tried to move around as many dates as possible, but they weren’t too successful,” one source close to MLB said. “There are too many other teams involved.”

In other areas where teams are close to each other — New York, Chicago and Los Angeles — scheduling conflicts occur occasionally, usually at the beginning or end of a homestand. For instance, last season the Cubs and the White Sox played at home on the same day five times.

The scheduling issue is yet another complication for commissioner Bud Selig, who is negotiating a compensation package for Orioles owner Peter Angelos to avoid a battle over the Montreal Expos’ move to Washington. While those talks, which include discussions about a regional sports network and a guaranteed sales price for Angelos should he put the Orioles on the market, are taking place, baseball is starting to review prospective bidders for the Expos, who are owned by the other 29 major league clubs.

The Washington club already has put out a tentative schedule that likely will have some changes when the final version is released. That schedule has the Washington club opening on the road in Philadelphia on April4 for a three-game series, then going to Florida and Atlanta. Washington will begin its first homestand against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April15, then play host to the Marlins and Braves. After three games against the Mets in New York, the team returns to Washington for six games against the Phillies and Mets.

Other key tentative home dates include three games against the Chicago Cubs on May13-15; interleague games June7-12 against the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners and June24-26 against the Toronto Blue Jays; and games against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug.2-4 and the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals on Aug.26-28.

The final homestand will be six games against the San Francisco Giants and Mets on Sept.20-25. The team will finish its season on the road with three games against the Marlins and four in Philadelphia.

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