O's freeze prices again; Hargrove will kick off 2000 season against his old Indians team; Tickets stable for 3rd year; 'Trying to keep prices within family budgets'


The Orioles released their schedule for the 2000 season yesterday, along with some favorable news: For the third straight year, ticket prices at Camden Yards will remain the same.

This will be the longest stretch that prices have gone unchanged in Baltimore since 1986-89. It's only the sixth time in club history that they've stayed the same for three or more years. Tickets will range from $9 for bleachers to $35 for club seats.

"We are very mindful of trying to keep ticket prices within the range of most family budgets," Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos said in a statement. " We have worked to continue to offer the enjoyment of major-league baseball at a cost that on average is below that of most other professional sports and indeed most other forms of entertainment. Plus, we continue to offer what no one else can -- the excitement of an afternoon or evening of baseball played in the best ballpark in the world."

Angelos' favorite facility again will serve as the site of the Orioles' season opener, on April 3 against the Cleveland Indians that kicks off a six-game, seven-day homestand. That will be followed by the first road trip, to Kansas City and Minnesota.

The Indians' appearance gives new manager Mike Hargrove an immediate chance to go against the club that won five straight American League Central titles under his guidance before he was fired last month. Hargrove will make only one trip to Jacobs Field, and that not until early September.

The Orioles will close 2000 with six home games, the last three vs. the two-time defending world champion New York Yankees.

The schedule includes 34 home dates in July and August, eight more than last season. Weeknight games in April, May and September again will start at 7: 05 p.m., with June, July and August dates being pushed back to 7: 35 p.m.

"As far as the schedule goes, we're much happier with it than in the last few seasons, with fewer home dates in April and more in July and August," said club spokesman Bill Stetka. "We obviously draw better in the summer months when schools are out."

The first interleague series at Camden Yards will be June 9-11 against the Philadelphia Phillies. The defending National League champion Atlanta Braves will open a three-game series here after the All-Star break, followed by a visit from the Florida Marlins.

Like last season, the Orioles will conclude the first half in Philadelphia. They also will visit the Montreal Expos and New York Mets in early June.

Three AL Central Division clubs will make only one trip to Camden Yards: the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals. The Orioles, in turn, will go to Cleveland, Seattle and Detroit just once.

The longest stays at Camden Yards are two nine-game homestands June 9-18 and July 24-Aug. 2. The longest road trip is a 13-day, four-city jaunt to begin September that includes stops in Cleveland, Minnesota, Anaheim and Texas.

Season-ticket invoices will be sent out within the next several weeks. The first day of sales for group and individual tickets will be announced later.

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