In what will be one of the most eventful days the Camden Yards complex has seen in recent years, the Orioles will bat leadoff.
Before rock legends Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks play a joint show at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m., the Orioles will host Game 1 of the American League Division Series at 1 p.m. They will face the Texas Rangers, who beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card round, on either Fox or FS1.
Start times for the Orioles’ other ALDS games, including Game 2 in Baltimore, have yet to be announced by MLB.
In addition to the playoff baseball game and the outdoor rock concert, Mexican singer Carín León will perform 8 p.m. Saturday at CFG Bank Arena, which should make for a busy day downtown. It could become even more congested if inclement weather delays first pitch: The chance of precipitation is 50%, according to the National Weather Service.
As the best team in the AL, the Orioles received a bye through the wild-card round of the playoffs and advanced straight to the best-of-five ALDS. Saturday will mark the first playoff appearance since 2016 for the Orioles, who surprised the baseball world this season by winning 101 games, the club’s most since 1979.
The Ravens announced in January that Joel and Nicks would play at M&T Bank Stadium on Oct. 7. At that time, there was no known conflict with the Orioles, although there was always the possibility Baltimore could host a postseason game that day. That became a reality when the Orioles finished as one of the AL’s top two division winners, awarding them home-field advantage in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Hosting the baseball game and rock concert simultaneously is not feasible as it would create downtown congestion on roads and in the 4,000 surface parking lots around the stadiums, which are both located on the same 85-acre parcel. The two events will draw more than 90,000 people combined to the complex, which would create a logistical dilemma if they were to occur at the same time, given the number of attendees who typically drive.
In May 2014, both venues hosted events at the same time, although they didn’t attract quite the same crowd as Saturday is expected to. That day, an announced crowd of 36,873 watched an Orioles day game while an announced 30,428 attended two NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse semifinals at M&T Bank Stadium over the course of several hours.
Saturday’s plan seeks to avoid concurring events, allowing parking lots to be used by both teams, but the back-to-back nature could still present a challenge. The end of the Orioles game, which is a sellout, could coincide with concertgoers’ early arrival downtown for the show, which sold more than 50,000 tickets. M&T Bank Stadium’s gates open at 5:30 p.m.
The average MLB game in 2023 was 2 hours, 40 minutes, but playoff games tend to run longer than regular-season matchups and there is always the possibility of a delayed start or an extra-inning contest.
The Orioles’ and Ravens’ lease with the state of Maryland (which owns the venues) both state that, in this precise situation, the playoff baseball game should take precedence over a special event at M&T Bank Stadium. According to the Orioles’ lease, baseball games have “scheduling priority” over non-NFL events at the football stadium. And according to the Ravens’ agreement with the state, whichever team “is engaged in either NFL or Major League Baseball post-season play” has “scheduling priority.”
This would mean that, if the events were to overlap — if the baseball game was delayed, hypothetically — the Orioles game would take precedence.
Earlier this year, the Ravens hosted 19,217 fans at an open practice at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, July 29, before the New York Yankees visited Camden Yards to face the Orioles at 7:15 p.m. in front of a crowd of 42,829.
At Tuesday’s Maryland Stadium Authority board meeting, Vernon Conaway, vice president of public safety and security, referenced July 29 as he discussed how the authority, which owns both venues, would handle Saturday’s busy day.
“We have a model for being able to pull off two events on the same day,” he said. “It’s going to rely on communications, coordination and cooperation by all the partners.”
The Maryland Transit Administration said Tuesday that the light rail would operate on a regular schedule and there would be additional buses from Glen Burnie and Timonium Fairgrounds to both Oriole Park and M&T Bank Stadium.
“Arrive early and stay late to enjoy all the city has to offer and avoid the crowds,” the administration posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The Joel and Nicks show is M&T Bank’s first stand-alone concert since Metallica played there in May 2017, on a day the Orioles were on the road.
The shared complex has created conflicts before. After the Ravens won Super Bowl XVLII, they were scheduled to follow tradition and host the opening game of the NFL’s 2013 season. However, the Orioles had a home game scheduled on the same date and the teams could not reach an agreement; instead, the Ravens played that week in Denver against the Broncos.