The Orioles-Ravens Scheduling Fiasco: One Reaction

To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “Friends, Baltimoreans, countrymen–I come to praise the Orioles and Major League Baseball, not to bury them”.

Judging by what I’ve seen over social media the past few days, many others choose to not do the same. Unless you live under a rock, and that rock is in Baltimore, you should be well-versed in the latest “controversy” to envelop Baltimore sports fans. I feel like this is almost a weekly occurrence. We win the Super Bowl yet there is no “chill”. What I mean by this is have we as a fan base even had a chance to enjoy it?

We won the thing LAST month, but all the “virtual” tears I’ve seen shed over the past several weeks have not been of joy, but of sadness. Alas, that is a blog for another day. Thanks to the NFL, Baltimore sports fans found themselves embroiled this week in a Civil War-esque showdown. On par with the Hatfields vs the McCoys, I give you Ravens fans vs. Orioles fans.

It really shouldn’t be this way, you know. As a fan base, we really are all in this together. In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, ’til death do us part, we are inherently Orioles and Ravens fans. Yes, there’s the odd Redskins fan here or there, or Nats’ fan from Baltimore, but for the sake of this writing, I’m keeping it Baltimore and Baltimore only. There is zero reason to ever have to choose.

Two completely different sports played in two (for the most part) completely different times of year. But since Roger Goodell and the NFL decided to flex their muscle and show everybody who the bully in the schoolyard was, a lot of true colors were shown out over the last few days.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t show mine. I love the Ravens. I’m pretty sure I’ve watched every game they’ve ever played in some form or another since their inaugural season in 1996. But 12 years of my life there was no football in Baltimore, and for about 5 years prior to that, the football that was there was pretty poor.

The Orioles, or “The Only Game In Town”, as they were called when the Colts left, were exactly that. The Orioles simply hold a special place in my heart, a different place in my heart than the Ravens. So forgive me if I was a bit put off by Goodell and the NFL putting the Orioles in a no-win PR nightmare situation. We all know the particulars, so no need to rehash the actual facts. But, the Orioles were not solely responsible for the decision…FACT. Major League Baseball put this schedule out in September(!!) 2012…FACT.

The NFL has scheduled games on all kinds of  religious holidays, including last year’s Rosh Hashanah…FACT. These are just a few of the big ones, but there are several more that just make the NFL look like idiots. None of that stuff matters though because it seems that the only thing many Ravens fans and local media saw was “ZOMG THE ORIOLES WON’T LET THE RAVENS OPEN THE SEASON AT HOME ON SEPT 5TH…BURN THEM AT THE STAKE!”.

You know what? I get it.

The Ravens are almost always in the playoffs, bringing home two Super Bowls in the process. They’re great in the community and the organization has built up a ton of goodwill with the denizens of Baltimore and with their fans all around the country. The O’s right now just can’t compete with that.M&T

Prior to last season, they were punchlines to jokes, many of those jokes from people in Baltimore itself. With last year’s success, however, and with the promise of building on that this season, screwing around with your schedule during a potential pennant race in September just wasn’t gonna happen. From the many Nostradamus-es I follow or that have been re-tweeted onto my twitter timeline, “nobody in Baltimore is going to that Orioles game!” or, “there’s only going to be 10,000 people at that Orioles game!”.

Which is it? Nobody or 10,000?

I can tell you this much, Showalter nor his team will care if 1 person or 20,000 show up. They played and won in front of small crowds for most of last season; they’re professionals and their focus will be on the job at hand. I’ve seen reactions go so far as calling for a boycott of the Orioles game that night, or people saying the “prestige” of opening the season at home is something that can’t be passed up. To both camps, I say get a grip. Prestige? We won the Super Bowl. Our football team, that resides in the city of Baltimore, won the Super Bowl. If that doesn’t put you on the map, on the conscience of the average sports fan, I don’t know what will.

It was refreshing to see Coach John Harbaugh and a couple of the Ravens players come out and pretty much say “hey, no big deal…we’d rather play on the road that first game and get that half-bye week because it’ll do us better for the long haul”. That’s chess, people, not checkers. This is purely supposition (obviously), but I’ve wondered over the last couple days if, during the 14 years prior to last season the Orioles had sprinkled in several postseason appearances and maybe even threw in a world championship, the organization would’ve received the same vitriol I’ve read the past couple of days? I say no, but that’s purely speculation.

Living 3,000 miles away from your hometown and from the sports teams that you root for has both positives and negatives. The negative is obviously I don’t get to go to the games, don’t get to be with “my people” to celebrate the wins or suffer through the losses. The positive is that the distance allows me to stand back and survey. Maybe if I still lived in Baltimore, I’d get more caught up in the varying waves of emotion these made up controversies can cause.

Don’t get me wrong, if the O’s lose five in a row, I might be on the ledge ready to jump like everybody else back home, but at least I’ll think about it first.

Winston Rigsby is contributor to BaltimoreSportsReport.com. You can follow him on Twitter @W_R_R.

Sports Without Charm. BaltimoreSportsReport.com features fan coverage and analysis of the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Capitals, Maryland Terrapins and Towson Tigers.

26 Comments

  1. Nick

    March 23, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I guarantee you that if the Yankees and Giants shared similar facilities to the O’s and Ravens the NFL wouldn’t even have said a word because they would have known the most valuable American sports franchise would have just laughed at them. In fact, I’d really like to know what would have happened if the Yankees were here on that home stand instead of the following one. I think part of the reason they even took this route is they assumed that the O’s and Angelos had such a poor reputation over the last decade and the Ravens had such a good one that once the Orioles saw the public reaction they would just bend over. When they didn’t, it was too late for the NFL to go back on its ultimatum lest they look like anything less than the mighty NFL.

    • Raven Maniac

      April 6, 2013 at 5:01 am

      The Orioles and Black Sox should pay for not moving their meaningless game to earlier in the day. The Sox should receive a hostile welcome upon landing in Baltimore and should be harassed in their hotel and on their bus to the game. Demonstrations should occur outside the game, and anyone wearing anything but Ravens regalia to the game should be taunted. Things should be thrown on the field to disrupt the game at least once during the game, and any attempt to prompt chants in support of the Orioles should be met with R-A-V-E-N-S! Make the Orioles’ ownership and management worms regret that the Super Bowl Champion Ravens are starting on the road. Make this the worst PR nightmare in Orioles history!

  2. Hollywoodheiz

    March 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    All that needed to be printed here was just one line “The NFL has scheduled games on all kinds of religious holidays, including last year’s Rosh Hashanah…FACT. “. Weak excuse King Roger, Mr Kraft, and all those who try to disguise revenue loss by playing on Wednesday with saying its a religious holiday and ” we can’t play….”

  3. MGW

    March 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    The NFL two hand touch league needs to get over itself. Glad MLB, the Orioles, the White Sox and the MLBPA didn’t cave.

    Stupid, naive fans who think the Orioles called all the shots in this fiasco.

  4. mystery man

    March 23, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Just wait until you all see the importance of the Sept. 5th game for the O’s,,,,,,,,,,,,they will be ten games out by then and the comments will get even worse……………….The O’s game that night won’t draw 5,000 because most sports fans will be home watching the Ravens……………….

    • 9inchnails

      March 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      and your point is what, spy?

  5. Winston

    March 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks for reading and for the input. Nick, great point re if it was the Yankees we were playing.

  6. Greg Embert

    March 23, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Without assigning blame, I can’t help but feel cheated that Baltimore will not experience what would have been a very special night in its sports history.

  7. Greg Mac

    March 23, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Excellent summary of this disaster Roger and his band of goons inflicted on the Ravens fans. The one piece I find amusing is how everyone assumes that all Orioles fans are Ravens fans so nobody will show up at the Yard that night. When for the past few years, most Baltimore fans practically made people choose one team over the other. If the Orioles are I contention then as they were last year, there will still be 20,000 people at least at this game! And shame on the NFL for trying to bully the Orioles and their fans to do what the NFL wanted and not what was best for the Orioles

  8. mystery man

    March 24, 2013 at 9:09 am

    The Ravens switched their game times twice for the O’s games,,,,,,,,,,back in 199 and 2001,,,,how soon we forget……………Peter the Great still sucks and is jealous of the Ravens,,,,,,,this proves it , he didn’t even get the MLB execs involved this didn’t get past him,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    once again he screws the fans of Baltimore , he is pretty good at this,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,go start your next fourteen yerar losing streak for you fans Peter the great…………………..your mindless followers are amazingly stupid…………………….

    • Nick

      March 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      You don’t seem to be very bright yourself conserving the fact that Bud Selig…The commissioner of baseball WAS in on this.

      • Nick

        March 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

        *considering. Autocorrect.

    • 9inchnails

      March 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      and your point is what, Jim?

  9. Ravens2488

    March 24, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I actually do not really care about this at all but I agree with Mystery Man and Greg Embert. So the Orioles and MLB wouldn’t budge but I think it’s more of a slap to Ravens fans that the NFL made it an “Away” game vice playing it Wednesday night or hell, open the season Saturday night for one year.

    People say that it wasn’t just the Orioles say in the matter and thats true but you can’t tell me that they didn’t have more of the say then the White Sox or MLB. I give it a 50/25/25 split.

    The worst part in this for Baltimore fans? That there is going to be more animosity between the Orioles and Ravens organizations now more than ever. Raven players throwing out the 1st pitch? Oriole players being Honorary Coin Toss Captains? Not happening even more so now.

    Now for the burning question… Do you think the anti-advertisement the Ravens put up last year against the Orioles played a part in this?

  10. Wage Serf

    March 24, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I think a solution could have been a Saturday double-header for the O’s. Double-headers are a rare treat in baseball today. The rosters expand on September 1st, so you won’t be wearing out the starters and fans get a look at the prospects.

    Baltimore can celebrate the Ravens championship in NFL fashion. The NFL could compensate the Orioles if there’s any loss in income.

  11. Top 25 Finalist

    March 24, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    The author of the article stated some “FACTS”…Here are some “FACTS” he neglected to tell you.

    1) The O’s 2013 home opener, a 3.05 start, comes after the play in Florida the day before.

    2) Three times while the 2013 School Year is still in session, the O’s have mid-week home games that start at 12.35 after a night game on the previous day.

    3) MLB teams no longer ride Trailways buses, nor do they ride the old trains with “Sleeper cars”.

    4) As the Wage Surfer mentioned before I logged in, rosters are expanded in September, so a day/night doubleheader on Saturday would be doable ——- Just as it will be when the Heavens Open on that Thursday night in Protest of the O’s insensitivity.

    Bottom line…O’s deserve whatever they get in terms of negative attention on this matter…They’ve worked very hard over the Angelos Era to drive away their fan base…They should be applauded for their unfailing consistency in this regard!

    • Zach Wilt

      March 25, 2013 at 12:04 am

      O’s didn’t make the decision, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA did. The Orioles not only don’t deserve any negative attention for this issue, they don’t deserve any attention over it whatsoever.

      • Top 25 Finalist

        March 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm

        Oh, so the Orioles really did want to accommodate the Ravens?

        That would mean the same MLB that gave Uncle Peter unprecedented concessions while moving the Expos to DC now won’t even move one game for him five months in advance? Wow, Mr. Angelos has really seen his once-great power diminish substantially!

        Odds are I wasn’t going to attend either the baseball game or the would-be football game anyway. That said, I do hope d’em O’s get rained out on Thursday, 5 September and have to play the doubleheader vs the White Sox on Saturday, 7 September, all the same! To me, that’d be the perfect ending to Schedule Gate!

        • Zach Wilt

          March 26, 2013 at 12:49 am

          What I’m saying is that the Orioles had nothing to do with accommodating the Ravens. There’s plenty in the past to be upset with Orioles ownership about, but this is a poor example.

          This decision was made by the league and the player’s association.

          If you’re an Orioles fan, I don’t know why you’d root for a doubleheader. Wouldn’t you want the Orioles to have the best chance of winning?

          Maybe you aren’t though. Either way, it has nothing to do with Angelos or the Orioles. Roger Goodell could have played this game on Wednesday if he wanted to. He’s the guy you should be mad at.

          • spy

            March 26, 2013 at 8:41 am

            Come on Zach , you know this didn’t get past Peter the Great,,,,,all we got was lip service,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,grow a pair………………

        • MGW

          March 26, 2013 at 10:06 am

          Again, maybe I’ll go to one of your kid’s games and publically boo him or her…

          Same difference, right?

      • spy

        March 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

        Wow , did this hit a nerve Zach????????????????

    • MGW

      March 25, 2013 at 7:42 am

      This is akin to me going to one of your kid’s games and booing him/her.

  12. CurlyC

    March 25, 2013 at 9:23 am

    There will come a time in the future, when the O’s will ask the Ravens to move their game so they can play a World Series game. How do you think the Ravens will answer? What comes around…….goes around!

    • Nick F

      March 25, 2013 at 9:32 am

      I guarantee the NFL wouldn’t have moved a game before this fiasco happened. They interviewed Jim Duquette on Norris and Davis last week and he said they’ve done it before.

    • spy

      March 26, 2013 at 8:40 am

      The Ravens have already moved two of their games for the O’s,,,,,in 1999 and 2001………..bone up on the facts,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,