By now many have heard the news that the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will most likely have to begin their 2013 campaign on the road, this due to a Sept. 5 scheduling snafu that would have had the Ravens playing at the same time the Baltimore Orioles would be playing at their Camden Yards home.
Roger Goodell and the NFL, in all their alpha-male dominance, tried to “convince” the Orioles to reschedule the game by giving the only other option as the above stated road opener for the Ravens.
The Orioles didn’t blink.
In fact, the Orioles gave an emphatic harrumph to the NFL in the form of a very politely worded, but pointed statement:
“The Orioles have great respect for the Super Bowl Champion Ravens and thank Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, and the White Sox for doing everything possible to work with us to explore all options to reschedule the September 5 game. We also appreciate the work of the NFL and the Ravens over the past several weeks as we attempted to accommodate the Ravens’ interest in a game the same evening. Given the limited options available to reschedule the game at that late date in the season, the parties jointly determined that even an earlier start time would still create such enormous logistical difficulties that it would greatly diminish the fan experience for both events which all parties realized would not be in the interest of their fans or the City.”
Translation: The Orioles just hit the NFL with the crown of their helmet in a politically correct “take a hike” statement.
And I say, good for the Orioles.
The NFL has manufactured a controversy here, and with their apparent unwillingness to show some flexibility, has turned the Baltimore Orioles into a group of bad guys bent on spoiling the Ravens’ season-opening celebration.
Roger Goodell has other options, he just chooses not to exercise them for whatever reason. The excuse of not wanting to play a game on Rosh Hashanah–which is that Wednesday, Sept. 4–clearly holds no water, as the league has scheduled games on the sacred holiday in the past, including last season.
The Orioles are absolutely correct to hold their ground. If this season plays out anything like 2012, the Orioles could find themselves in the midst of a hot pennant chase by the time September rolls around. Asking the team to play a double-header or to alter the schedule in any way at that point could be extremely counter-productive.
And while the Ravens may be the reigning champions, the Orioles have been a part of the Baltimore landscape and lore for much longer, and deserve just as much courtesy and respect as their relocated neighbors.