Orioles fans are back, and they have brought their credit cards.
Ticket sales for Orioles games were extremely brisk yesterday, the first day of business after baseball owners announced plans to start the regular season.
Orioles officials estimated fans bought 25,000 individual game tickets yesterday, a figure they said was the highest for an American League East team. The New York Yankees sold about 3,000 tickets yesterday, and the Toronto Blue Jays haven't yet begun selling tickets, Orioles officials said.
The tickets most fans wanted were for Opening Day at Camden Yards (May 2) and the home games at which Cal Ripken is projected to tie and break the consecutive-games streak of Yankees legend Lou Gehrig.
About 2,000 seats are left for Sept. 5, the date some have speculated Ripken could tie Gehrig's mark of 2,130 consecutive games. Tickets for Sept. 6, the potential record-breaking game, sold out yesterday, Orioles officials said.
Despite the speculation, the key games in the Ripken streak are no more than moving targets until American League schedule-makers finalize Orioles dates for the rest of the season. Club officials said they expect final word by the end of the week.
Opening Day is also a near sellout. The only tickets left are scattered singles and obstructed-view seats.
The Orioles also announced a ticket refund and exchange policy yesterday for games canceled by the players strike.
Season-ticket holders will receive refund checks in the mail. Those who already have received their season tickets do not have to return them to the Orioles, but they should keep the tickets (and parking passes) until their money has been refunded.
Fans who purchased individual tickets to canceled games can exchange them for tickets to games during the 1995 regular season or receive a refund. Tickets can be exchanged at the Camden Yards ticket office. To get a refund, fans can turn in their tickets at the Camden Yards ticket window or mail unused tickets to: Baltimore Orioles Ticket Office, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 333 W. Camden St., Baltimore, Md. 21201.