I really never thought that the day would come that the NFL and MLB would be fighting over placement and times at venues. With the most recent news and conflict between the two leagues, I felt it only necessary to voice my utter shock and awe at the situation at hand.
The Oakland Athletics, to much surprise (especially the AL West), have won their division and made the postseason. This isn’t the first time that the Oakland A’s have made the postseason, and it won’t be the last. This year, however, has been an interesting tug-of-war between the NFL and MLB, and the Oakland A’s just rang the bell for “Round 2”.
For everyone that has been living under a rock, the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in Louisiana this past February. Every year, the NFL kicks off its season with a celebration at the home city of the champions with a concert and all the pomp and circumstance; that had been the norm since 2004, starting with the New England Patriots. Ideally, once again you would think that this would be a great thing for the city of Baltimore, but then came the scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles.
Last season, the Orioles made the playoffs and had high hopes for this season to get back to play in October. Therefore, when the schedule was announced knowing the Ravens had won the Super Bowl, the issue starting to cause a ruckus. A Thursday night game on Sept. 5 at Camden Yards was scheduled against the AL Central Chicago White Sox.
When this conflict came about you would think that both league offices would try to come to an agreement. For those of you that do not know, M&T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards share parking space and are back-to-back from one another. The idea of having simultaneous events, along with a concert in the Inner Harbor, was not a viable option. I honestly believe that the kickoff to the NFL season is bigger than a non-divisional baseball matchup for any team in early September. Clearly the Orioles and Commission Bud Selig did not think so, however. As the story goes, the Ravens opened the season on the road at Mile High to face the Denver Broncos and got worked. (So much for that streak of Super Bowl champions winning at home Week 1).
I truly thought that this little head butting situation was the end of it, but based on the Oakland A’s making the playoffs this season, it has now caused another issue. The Oakland A’s and the Oakland Raiders share a venue, the O.co Coliseum (not only a horrible name, but the last NFL/MLB shared venue). The Oakland A’s have the first game of the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night at 9:00pm EST. According to reports, the venue takes 18 + hours to change from baseball to football, therefore the Oakland Raiders v. San Diego Chargers game that is scheduled for 4:25 EST is now 11:25 EST!! Why did anyone in the NFL league office in their right minds let this go?! Why do you not push back the MLB and have the other playoff game on Saturday (Boston Red Sox v. Tampa Bay Rays) moved from their 5:00pm time slot to a night game, and allow the Oakland A’s and Tigers to play at 4:25 EST? Keep the NFL scheduling as is. Now you have an awkward highly questionable late night game, and for the record, the scheduled Sunday Night matchup is across the bay from Oakland when the San Francisco 49ers host the Houston Texans. So, the entire bay area will be in grid locked and bombarded with traffic, having one game letting out and another starting ? Who in their right mind allowed this west coast late night double header?
It still boggles my mind that this game is going to be going on, as it is a highly questionable move for both leagues, especially after Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski said on a radio show that he ‘”roots for the A’s to miss the postseason.” Let’s hope that this teaches both league offices a lesson for the future.
Hear more about my take on this topic on the second episode of The Blind Referee (Twitter: @TBR_305). You can also follow me on Twitter at @HarrisonScottT.