BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles’ early-season schedule is a journey into the past, exclusively on East Coast time.
Baltimore doesn’t play a game outside of the Eastern time zone until June 1, in Houston. Until then, the Orioles won’t have to reset their watches or buckle up for a lengthy plane trip.
The last teams to play all their games in the Eastern time zone through May were the 1932 Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Athletics and Washington Senators, according to STATS LLC.
Back in those days, the train was the preferred mode of travel.
“I wish we were doing it,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I love the train.”
Baltimore occasionally travels by rail to New York, but the schedule calls for a six-day stay in the Big Apple next month for games against the Mets and Yankees. So the Orioles will go by plane to New York, Boston, Toronto and Miami.
“It wouldn’t be feasible unless they get those bullet trains they have in Japan,” reliever Darren O’Day said. “Now that would be cool.”
Still, Baltimore couldn’t ask for a better way to start the season. The Orioles play 30 games at home in April and May, and their 19-game road slate began with three against Tampa Bay — meaning they never left Florida from spring training.
“Anytime you start the season you’re trying to find your groove,” first baseman Chris Davis said. “So anything you can have in your favor to make the travel a little less strenuous is an advantage.”
Showalter agreed that teams benefit from staying in the same time zone.
“It takes you about two weeks to get acclimated to the new baseball clock,” he said, “so to not have that distraction is good.”
The rest of the teams in the AL East might cry foul, but the favorable schedule was just a quirk of fate.
“It really wasn’t anything that was planned,” said Katy Feeney, MLB’s senior vice president of scheduling and club relations.
Most teams face clubs within their division for the first three weeks, and the AL East matches up with the NL East in interleague play this year. When the Orioles meet three AL West teams in May, all three series are at Camden Yards.
Their farthest trek before the end of May is to Miami.
“The hardest part about the beginning of the season is the night game and then flying to a different city in a different time zone and having a day game the next day,” Davis said.
Orioles traveling secretary Kevin Buck is responsible for making the trip from one city to the next as easy as possible for the players. For these two months, that won’t be a difficult task.
“The biggest difference is the players are able to stay in a rhythm by staying in the same time zone,” Buck said. “There’s no jet lag, no four or five-hour flight.”
That’s the case in April and May, anyway.
“It’s awesome,” O’Day said. “Makes me wonder where we are in June, July and August.”
June and July will bring visits to Houston, Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit. Then comes August, which features a nine-game trip to the West Coast, along with three-game series in both Kansas City and Texas.
“The fans don’t care about what time the game is. They care about results. So do we,” Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. “No excuses. Whatever the schedule is, we play it. Best of luck, guys.”
AP Sports Writer Ron Blum contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)