Ravens v Orioles: How Roger Goodell solves Baltimore schedule conflict
Eric Golub is a politically conservative Jewish blogger,...
LOS ANGELES, March 24, 2013—By now sports fans are aware of the scheduling conflict that has threatened to tarnish the feel-good atmosphere in Baltimore. The 2012 National Football League champion Ravens are supposed to begin their title defense on Thursday, September 5, 2013.
Everything the NFL does now is larger than life. Preceding the kickoff to the season is a seven hour block party as the host city goes wild. Although Ray Lewis is now retired, expect him to make an appearance before the game. Expect the crowd at the Big Crabcake to go ballistic when when he does his electric slide dance and yells “Any dogs in the House!” for the final time.
In 2002 the Raiders and Buccaneers went to the Super Bowl, yet they both began their 2003 seasons on the road. The NFL corrected that mistake. Now the Super Bowl champion gets the coronation ceremony. Yet 2013 may ruin the last decade of fantastic openers.
Major League Baseball has the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox scheduled to play a game earlier in the day. Both of these teams play the evening before, so moving the game any earlier would be exhausting on those teams. The Orioles and Ravens play in adjoining stadiums and share a parking lot. Playing both games simultaneously would be a logistical nightmare. Even if the baseball game began earlier, extra innings would potentially delay the opening of the football game.
The NFL does not want to move its opener from Thursday to Wednesday because of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Baltimore has a decent-sized Jewish population. The league has played games on Rosh Hashanah before, but not the opening game to start the season. The league did move its opener to Wednesday last year so as not to conflict with President Obama’s convention speech, but MLB is not the President. The NFL did not move its game that conflicted with Mr. Obama’s Newtown speech.
NFL Commissioner Goodell has tried to be gracious in public, but MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has not budged. This is one sport against another, which is why Commissioner Goodell needs to bring down the hammer that he is not shy about wielding when it involves protecting “the shield.” This time the players would be on his side. Mr. Goodell needs to deliver a serious message to all of baseball. Let me say it for him.
Dear baseball: You don’t matter. You are America’s pastime.
(For those who disagree, go visit Kevin Wells.)
Might makes right, and in the world of television, might comes in the form of television ratings. Football is a ratings elephant. Baseball is an ant. Spare us all the waxing poetic from George Will and other baseball purists. Its a boring game that the American people by and large tuned out ages ago.
The Pro Bowl is the least respected game on the NFL calendar to the point it was almost canceled. It gets higher ratings than most football games.
NFL preseason games get higher ratings than most regular season baseball games.
More people watch the NFL Draft than most regular season baseball games. The Draft is where teams line up and select future players. It is not even an actual game.
In 1991 the World Series was, by baseball standards, interesting. Yet Sunday Night Football was scheduled at the same time as the World Series. The Washington Redskins were 7-0 and thinking Super Bowl. They had to travel to the Meadowlands to face a tough New York Giants team. The Giants battered Washington and led 13-0 at halftime. The Redskins fought back and gutted out a brutal 17-13 road win, eventually winning it all. So who won the baseball game that night? Nobody knows or cares.
The NFL normally avoids scheduling Sunday Night Football against the World Series out of sheer politeness and nothing more. They could batter baseball into submission if they chose. So MLB may wish to remember their place and reschedule a game that “might” have playoff implications but might not.
Roger Goodell should not force the Ravens to go on the road after everything Ray Lewis and the rest of the Ravens did for their city and the league. They deserve this home game. The football game should go on as scheduled. Make baseball blink.
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