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What Orioles fans need to know about seeing a game at Camden Yards this season

After being shut out of Camden Yards by the coronavirus pandemic for the shortened 60-game season, Orioles fans will be welcomed back in at limited capacity to begin the 2021 season on April 8 against the Boston Red Sox.

The Orioles, after extensive planning to fit within state, city, and MLB guidelines, have announced that the ballpark will be open at 25% capacity to start the season. This means approximately 11,000 fans will be welcome for games beginning next month.

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Here’s what that means for fans who want to get into the ballpark and see a ballgame this summer:

Birdland Members are the priority — including for Opening Day

In their announcement, the Orioles said that they’d immediately reach out via email to Birdland Membership plan holders to be reseated in conjunction with the “pod seating” plans that are required to keep six feet of distance between each group of fans.

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Those whose normal seats are impacted will be contacted by the club to accommodate their wishes before ticket plans for the general public are announced.

Birdland Membership holders also are the only fans who will have access to Opening Day tickets, the team said. Those who join after the announcement can still get access to Opening Day tickets by joining at Orioles.com/Memberships.

What is a Birdland Membership?

Introduced in 2018, the Birdland Membership plan has three tiers: diamond for a full season, black for 29 games, and orange for 13 games.

Members get reduced prices on tickets averaging around 15%, the team says, as well as concession and merchandise discounts, exclusive rewards and experiences and more.

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It’s unclear how many such packages were sold in 2019, but their lowest midweek attendance of 2019 was 6,585 on April 8 against the Oakland Athletics. That’s likely a good baseline for the full-season plan holders at that point in the season.

Public access to tickets might be limited

It’s unclear how many Birdland Membership holders the team has, but that might impact the availability to the general public based on when the game is. For instance, the team’s weekend plans have traditionally been more popular than some weekday ones.

That could mean tickets early in the season, especially with the Boston Red Sox as the Orioles’ opponents for the first home series, could be hot for that weekend of April 10-11. It’s likely capacity will still be 25% for the April 26-29 series against the New York Yankees and Boston’s return the weekend of May 7 as well.

The team will announce single-game ticket availability once it sorts out reseating for Birdland Members

All of the same protocols as Ed Smith Stadium

The team has had success with reopening their spring training home in Sarasota, Florida to fans this month, with Ed Smith Stadium also at 25% capacity, albeit much smaller than Camden Yards.

Fans are required to wear masks covering their face and nose at all times, with neck gaiters and masks with exhalation valves not permitted inside the stadium. The only time masks can be removed is when fans are at their seats and actively eating or drinking.

All interactions with stadium staff will be touchless as well, as tickets and parking passes will be digital through the MLB Ballpark App and concessions, parking, tickets, and merchandise all requiring digital payments. Cash will not be accepted.

Fans can enter the stadium one hour before games, and to keep the field a secure location and keep on-field personnel safe, batting practice will end before fans enter the stadium and Kids Run the Bases will be canceled for the time being, the team said.

Frontline workers to the front of the line

The Orioles said they’ll spend the season promoting “vaccine education and crucial public health messaging to fans,” and as part of that initiative, will invite local front line and health care workers to select games.

Tickets will be allotted to the staff of the Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins Hospital, the University of Maryland Medical Center, MedStar Health, Sinai Hospital, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and Mercy Medical Center, the team said.

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