A few days ago, skirmishes broke out across the Baltimore-oriented airwaves and bandwidth as a result of an NFL-manufactured controversy, which one might fairly interpret as the NFL attempting to strong-arm Major League Baseball and assert its alpha sports dominance. The choice was presented as this: the Orioles would have to either move their game time on September 5 or the Ravens would have to open the season on the road.
The battles will surely flare up again as we can now enter the next phase of the debate. The Orioles have released a statement with a lot of polite language indicating that they will not be budging on their September 5 game.
One piece of modern American government lore is that on the floor of the United States Senate, the more flowery language one uses to describe a fellow senator, the more you hate that senator. "My colleague, the senator from Maryland," may indicate mild friendship; "my distinguished colleague across the aisle, the gentleman from Massachusetts," probably means you don't like the guy; "my good friend and esteemed colleague across the aisle, the distinguished gentleman from Florida," probably means you hate his guts.
I majored in government, so I was thinking about that when I read this press release from the Orioles:
"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."
However, based on the above, it does sound like the Orioles were willing to do something, and perhaps the baseball parties needed to approve the change would have, but there were other reasons making an Orioles-Ravens same-day doubleheader sort of thing unfeasible. Parking lot conflicts, police staffing, and stadium staff overlap may have all been among those logistical difficulties.
The end result of this is that the Ravens are probably going to open their season on the road, rather than have a kickoff-the-NFL-season celebration. Many around town will blame the Orioles for this, which I simply don't think is fair.
The NFL is hiding behind Rosh Hashanah as a reason why they won't open up the season on Wednesday, September 4. I don't accept their reasoning, and you shouldn't either, because they have played a full slate of games, including a night game, on Rosh Hashanah in the past, including last year, when they had a night game in San Francisco on September 16, 2012, the first night of the holiday, same as September 4 will be this year.
If they really wanted to open up the season in the defending Super Bowl champion's city - as they claim to want to - they would find a way to do so that did not involve attempting to bully the Orioles and MLB. That they haven't found an alternative to a game on September 5 other than "Ravens open on the road" suggests to me that the NFL does not really want to solve this problem and are using the Orioles as their scapegoats with a public who's all too happy to convict them in the court of public opinion.
The Ravens will still be playing eight home games during the 2013 regular season.