With the Ravens winning the Super Bowl, the NFL will presumably open up the 2013 NFL season with a Thursday night national TV game in Baltimore on September 5th. The defending champion normally has a bone thrown their way in that the open the season in that manner before a national TV audience. MLB has a similar tradition with the defending champion opening up at home on a Sunday night, however in the past few seasons they’ve seemed to have gone away from that. St. Louis got the normal primetime opener (as the defending champion) last year, however it was as a visitor in the first game at the new Marlins’ stadium. This year MLB has decided to feature the new “AL rivalry,” the Rangers vs. Astros, as opposed to giving the San Francisco Giants the Sunday night opener as the defending champion.
That aside, if the NFL keeps it’s normal modus operandi in terms of scheduling, that September 5th game will interfere with a Baltimore Orioles game that’s already on the schedule. The O’s, who will have just returned from Cleveland the night before, are scheduled to open a four-game set with the Chicago White Sox that night at 7 PM. Needless to say, you can’t have a baseball game at 7:00 and a football game at 8:30 in the same complex.
For the good of Baltimore sports, neither team can allow this to turn into the Orioles vs. the Ravens, or even MLB vs. the NFL. Previous to 2012, I feel like the O’s and Ravens mildly tolerated each other. However the two sides definitely put themselves behind each other’s playoff runs, and I feel that bodes well for everyone involved. I don’t think that either franchise will allow that to happen for the record. The problem will come from the NFL (and please don’t get me wrong folks, I say that as an NFL fan). With the exception of last year’s game which was moved to Wednesday night because of President Obama’s convention speech, the NFL isn’t really keen on accomodating others. If it were suggested to the NFL that they consider moving their game to Wednesday as they did last year, I suspect they wouldn’t take kindly to that concept.
Quite frankly, I feel that the Ravens deserve that moment as it’s construed to be (on Thursday night). It would seem that the obvious solution would be for the O’s to reschedule that game for noon or something along those lines. Parking might get a bit dicey for some of the shared lots, however there’s no real perfect scenario. I suppose it’s possible that they could move the Ravens game since the O’s are already on the schedule, however again I wouldn’t bank on that. The other option would be for the Orioles to schedule it as a split-admission day/night doubleheader on Friday or Saturday, with the originally scheduled Thursday game being in the afternoon. However teams try to stay away from doubleheaders as best they can, and I can understand why.
For the record, while Oriole attendance is expected to be up in 2013, it might not kill the O’s to make this an afternoon game and work out some sort of promotion. Perhaps they could allow people to park for both games, and if you show a ticket to the Ravens game that night you get a half priced upper reserve seat for the O’s game in the afternoon. It’s worth considering, of course unless the O’s happen to sell out every game during the season. It would show cameraderie between the two franchises, and solidarity with the people of the city.