NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tried to bully them in their own sandbox, but the Baltimore Orioles will not be moved. As a result, the Baltimore Ravens will open their season on the road.
On Friday, the Orioles denied Goodell's heavy handed request to move their Sept. 5 game against the Chicago White Sox to earlier in the day in order to accommodate the NFL's bloated plans for an opening-night party for the Super Bowl champs in Baltimore. The Ravens and Orioles not only share the city, but their respective home stadiums share parking lots. Playing a football game at "Sum of All Fears" Stadium and a baseball game at Camden Yards, at the same time, would have been a logistical nightmare at best.
Here's the very wordy but polite "no" from the Orioles, coming in the form of an official 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."
That gobbledygook is more than Goodell deserved after he shamelessly made a manipulative plea for the Orioles and White Sox to move. Goodell's position was captured perfectly by Yahoo! Sports' own NFL guru, Michael Silver. Sorry, guys. Buck Showalter might be short, but he's intractable when he needs to be.
And the Orioles and White Sox needed to sit tight. Both teams will be getting into Baltimore in the wee hours the night before, so starting a new series in a new town with an early game would have been an unreasonable request for the players. Not that the NFL gives a care about anything but the NFL.
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A solution might have been for the NFL to move the Ravens' opener to Wednesday night (nothing's happening at Camden Yards then), but Goodell said they couldn't do that because it's Rosh Hashanah — a Jewish high holiday. The only problem there: The NFL played games on Rosh Hashanah as recently as, oh, 2012.
Instead, the Ravens will hit the road. It is too bad for Ravens fans, really, but baseball came first. And football will get a chance to party the next week.
You won't find the score in your sports section the next day, but the Orioles already have beaten the Ravens 1-0 on Thursday, Sept. 5. Go O's.
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