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Amid coronavirus delays, Orioles and Major League Baseball ought to reconsider their ticket refund policy | READER COMMENTARY

General view outside of Peoria Stadium on March 13, 2020 in Peoria, Arizona. Major League Baseball cancelled spring training games and has delayed opening day by at least two weeks due to COVID-19.
General view outside of Peoria Stadium on March 13, 2020 in Peoria, Arizona. Major League Baseball cancelled spring training games and has delayed opening day by at least two weeks due to COVID-19. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

I am deeply grateful to the many leaders in our city and state who are working together to ensure that families and businesses stay healthy and financially whole during this crisis. There is one entity, however, that has an opportunity to put much-needed funds into the hands of local communities. That would be Major League Baseball and the Baltimore Orioles (“Orioles, other MLB teams to donate $1 million each in support of ballpark employees during coronavirus delay,” March 17).

I purchased tickets for the March 28 Orioles game against the Yankees from StubHub as soon as online ticket sales opened in January, as the Orioles do not do direct online ticket sales anymore (which is a problem for another day). The cost — over $400 — has already cleared my credit card and checking account, which ordinarily wouldn’t be a big deal. But things have changed, and $400 is a lot of money at a time when, as a small business owner, my finances are suddenly different than two months ago.

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The game is not happening. Last week, MLB announced a two-week delay to Opening Day and this week announced that opening day would be pushed back even further, but gave no specific date. I contacted StubHub to ask for a refund, but apparently MLB has not “officially” canceled the game so I cannot get my money back because the tickets are still valid.

Baseball games are often rescheduled when weather forces a cancellation and fans can get tickets to the “same” game played on the new date. Perhaps, Major League Baseball will find a way to ensure all games are technically played via doubleheaders and other scheduling fixes, but the fans who, like me, support their team so much that they set the calendar to buy early season tickets before they sold out are now panicking about paying bills and the money spent on tickets could be used, right now, to meet immediate needs and shop at local businesses like grocery stores.

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This is not a normal season, and who knows how many Orioles fans in the area have money tied up in these tickets to games that will never happen. MLB and the Orioles should do the right thing and immediately offer to refund all ticket sales for games that are affected by the delay, regardless of whatever make-up schedule is made. God willing, we will have baseball this year and the fans will appreciate getting their money back when they needed it.

Guli Fager, Baltimore

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