The Sept. 5 conflict that has the Super Bowl champion Ravens scheduled to open their season and the Orioles to host the Chicago White Sox the same night is getting a lot of buzz right now.
But as I said this morning on 105.7 The Fan’s “The Norris and Davis Show,” I just hope it’s not the O’s who end up hurting themselves and caving in to the almighty NFL.
First things first: having the O’s play an earlier day game and the Ravens move back the start of their game that night would be a disaster.
This town does not handle huge events like this well, traffic-wise or any other way. What if the Orioles play an extra-inning game that day and the game ends much later? What if there’s a rain delay and the same thing happens?
With the fans of both teams coming and going, traffic would be at end-of-the-world gridlock proportions. And good luck clearing the shared parking lots at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium without a full-scale riot taking place.
No, it seems to me the NFL is going to have to accommodate the Orioles on this one. The O’s will be flying into town late that night after an away game, and to ask them to play a noon game the next day would put them at a competitive disadvantage. And unlike in so many past years, this is a team that plans to contend and be playing meaningful games in September.
On the other hand, the Ravens can’t – and shouldn’t – give up a home game because of the snafu. This one is for the fans, a reward for their loyalty in supporting a team that won the Vince Lombardi Trophy. They should get the big-deal NFL season opener at home, no question.
The league says it doesn’t want to move the game to Wednesday, Sept. 4, because it conflicts with the first night of Rosh Hashanah. But the league has played games on the first night of that holiday before – as recently as last season, in fact.
If that doesn’t work, the league should schedule the Ravens opener for the following Sunday. No, it wouldn’t be ideal. Sure, it takes away from the uniqueness of the opener – it would no longer be the first game on the schedule.
But Ravens fans would get their home game and the Orioles wouldn’t be penalized for a game-day conflict they had nothing to do with.
That might be as fair as it gets in this situation.