Schedule-gate 2013: We’re not all going to get everything we want

March 20, 2013 | Glenn Clark

The National Football League is playing a season opener on Thursday, September 5. The question is whether or not the Baltimore Ravens will be hosting it. It has become quite apparent (although no one has been able to confirm this to me) that the team will be playing in the game one way or the other. If the situation is not worked out to allow for the game to be played in Charm City (likely against the Patriots), the Ravens would instead appear to be headed on the road to face an opponent like the Denver Broncos. They will be doing that in part because of their own desire that if they have to play a Thursday night game, that would rather do it at the beginning the season to keep a normal level of rest.

It’s one of the other. The Ravens host the Patriots or the Ravens start on the road. The game WILL NOT be played on Wednesday night, and the arguments made from those who aren’t happy with it are arguments that would never be made by a business owner in regards to a client.

Now let me ask one more question why I’m here.

Without pointing the finger in the direction of the Peter Angelos/the Baltimore Orioles/Major League Baseball whatsoever (who I have no doubt did nothing with malice in this entire process), I think the question is particularly important to any parent who is reading this column.

Do you always allow the child who calls shotgun first to ride up front in your car? Or do you sometimes have to tell that child it’s the other child’s turn to get in the front seat?

So much of this argument has been in relation to the notion that the Orioles have earned the right to play on September 5th because their schedule came out before the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII. It’s a very fair point. Major League Baseball certainly had no prior knowledge that there was going to be a conflict on that first Thursday night of the NFL season and had every right to make their schedule when they did.

We have to ask why it is that one entity that shares a property with another entity simply gets the right to say “these are our dates, you get to choose after.”

The answer is because of the lease agreement the Orioles share with the Maryland Stadium Authority.

I spoke to a source with knowledge of the lease agreement Tuesday and learned that when the state agreed to allow the Ravens to build what is now known as M&T Bank Stadium at the Camden Yards Sports Complex, they had to make concessions to the Birds in order to take away parking and other amenities from an area where they were previously the single tenant.

The amended agreement provided scheduling priority for the Orioles ahead of any other tenant that could use the Complex, including the Ravens. Essentially, the Orioles (via Major League Baseball-who makes the schedule) could put aside a set of dates EVERY September and simply tell the Ravens and the NFL, “tough luck.” That scenario has never reached a “boiling point” like this over the course of 15 years, but the parties did once have to come to an agreement on such a move before in 2008. At that point the Ravens partnered with the Orioles to create a festive celebration atmosphere at Camden Yards.

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