For the first time in 15 years, the Orioles will be sending out postseason ticket invoices to plan holders starting Thursday morning.
All season ticketholders should get the invoices — making them eligible to buy tickets to all levels of potential playoffs at Camden Yards — by next week, and perhaps as early as Friday.
"It's very exciting for us. The fact we are having daily postseason meetings to prepare all elements for the postseason is not something we have experienced in recent years," said Greg Bader, the Orioles' director of communications. "These are steps we have not been able to take in recent years, so to have all of our employees engaged in that is exciting. And it should be exciting for the fans, too."
The Orioles, who entered Wednesday's game tied for one of the two American League wild-card spots, have not been close to a playoff opportunity this late in the season since they went wire-to-wire to win the American League East in 1997.
Bader was a part-time employee in the productions department at that time — fresh out of college. He said he knows fans may be worried that this step could jinx the Orioles' surprising season, but in practicality, this is the time of year that Major League Baseball suggests teams begin to prepare playoff ticket sales. Some teams already have sent out invoices, he said.
"All of us continue to be cautiously optimistic, but at some point you have to proceed as if you are making the playoffs," Bader said. "From a business operations standpoint, [playoffs] is not a dirty word. It's actually an attraction and an incentive for our employees to work harder and longer hours. How baseball operations wants to handle it is up to them, and we know baseball is a superstitious game, but we have to proceed this way, that we are mailing these out."
Holders of all three season plans — full plans, 29-game and 13-game plans — will have the opportunity to buy tickets to each round, based on the number of tickets in their respective plans. (Full plan holders can buy additional tickets as well.)
The tickets will be sold in packages: 10 potential games (including three World Series) for full-plan holders; five potential games, including one World Series, for 29-game holders and three potential, including one World Series game, for 13-game holders.
Prices for the first three potential rounds — the wild-card playoff, American League Division Series and the American League Championship Series — will remain roughly the same as the cost for premium game seats during the season ($50, for instance, for lower left-field box seats). Prices will roughly triple for World Series tickets — those left-field lower box seats will be $175 per seat, and field box tickets will increase from $99 to $305.
Full-plan and 29-game-plan holders will receive discounted prices for all postseason games. Invoices must be returned to Camden Yards by Sept. 7.
In mid-September, if the Orioles are still in the pennant race, the club hopes to make tickets available to the general public. Details on that sale have not yet been finalized, Bader said.