Orioles' Nolan Reimold (14) is mobbed by teammates after scoring the game-winning run in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards on Sept. 28, 2011 in Baltimore. Baltimore won, 4-3.
Orioles' Nolan Reimold (14) is mobbed by teammates after scoring the game-winning run in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards on Sept. 28, 2011 in Baltimore. Baltimore won, 4-3. (Greg Fiume / Getty Images)

For those Orioles fans used to heading to Camden Yards for 1:35 p.m. first pitches every Sunday, this weekend will throw you a slight curveball.

The Orioles face the New York Yankees at 3:05 p.m. Sunday, starting at about the exact same time as every other contest in the majors.

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Major League Baseball tried something a little different this year, syncing up all games on Oct. 4 to potentially ramp up excitement in case any playoff races could be decided or tiebreakers forced on the final day of the regular season.

"If a game impacts another game, they're all occurring at the same time, so no team would be put into a lame-duck situation because their fate already had been decided by an earlier result," MLB chief operating officer Tony Petitti told the Los Angeles Times in March.

"If we do have games coming down to the wire, we want to make sure we maximize that day. ... We're hopeful that the races will come down to the last day of the season. We want to make sure we celebrate the end of the season properly."

An exceptional idea, one that should especially be admired by Orioles fans who fondly remember Sept. 28, 2011. That day, Baltimore completed the Boston Red Sox's September collapse by ending the regular season with a walk-off win only moments before the Tampa Bay Rays won to overtake Boston for the American League wild card.

That's the kind of drama MLB is trying to replicate. It just won't likely happen this year.

After Tuesday, seven of 10 playoff spots had been clinched with five days to go, and one other -- the Yankees' American League wild card -- was on the brink of being secured.

The only teams that could potentially keep synced-up Sunday interesting come from the AL West, where two spots (the division title and second wild card) remain available to the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels.

There could be some separation by the weekend, but that remains baseball's last hope for final-day excitement.

Even with the plan not likely panning out for a drama-filled Sunday in its first run, MLB has set up a situation sure to create more 2011-like finishes in the future.

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