After considering Camden Yards as a site for next week’s New York Yankees-Tampa Bay Rays series as Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida, Major League Baseball has decided to move the series to Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, according to an industry source.
Moving the three-game series — which was originally scheduled for Monday through Wednesday at Tropicana Field — to Oriole Park was one of the leading options MLB considered, according to the source, One of the deciding factors of moving the series to New York was because it solved some travel logistics — only one team would need hotel rooms on such late notice.
In cases like this, MLB asks potential relocation sites if they are willing and able to host, taking into account the travel for the two participating teams, compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the teams’ familiarity with the park among other factors.
MLB had been considering Camden Yards as a potential option throughout the week — the facility would be available because the Orioles will be on the road playing in Toronto.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters before Thursday’s game against the Orioles at Camden Yards that one option was to travel to Tampa Bay and play a double header there on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
The latest projections predict that Irma, currently a potentially catastrophic storm with 150 mph maximum sustained winds as it bears down on the northern coast of Cuba on Friday, will make landfall near Miami take a path straight up the spine of the Florida peninsula, which would still affect the Gulf Coast, where the Rays call home in St. Petersburg.
A hurricane watch is already in effect in the Tampa Bay areas and according to the latest projections released Friday morning, the area could receive tropical storm force winds as early as late Saturday night.
The Yankees just left Baltimore after taking two of three from the Orioles, including one game that was postponed by rain and played on Thursday’s mutual off day. They are opening a three-game series in Arlington, Texas, this weekend before their scheduled series against the Rays.
Tampa Bay is opening a three-game series in Boston on Friday, so traveling to New York to play the series wouldn’t have been out of the way for the Rays.
Camden Yards appeared to be a suitable spot for a relocation, and as AL East rivals of the Orioles, both teams have a familiarity with the ballpark, but forecasts are calling for a 50 percent chance of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday in Baltimore.
Two years ago, a three-game Orioles home series against the Rays was relocated to Tropicana Field during the city’s unrest in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray. And late last month, the Trop hosted a three-game series between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros that had to be relocated from Houston’s Minute Maid Field after Hurricane Harvey pummeled Texas’s Gulf Coast.
The New York Post first reported that the series would be moved to Citi Field.