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.

(Continued on Page 4…)

5 Comments For This Post

  1. PghSteve Says:

    Another thing – the NFL has known since January 20th that there was a 50% chance the Ravens could be hosting the opening game on September 5th. Did they wait almost 2 months to try to work this out? Seems to me that work on finding a compromise should have been started on the Monday morning of January 21st, and maybe it was. Do you know when the NFL started to work out a deal?

    (Edit from Glenn: It was roughly around then, yes. But the MLB schedule was already set even at that point.)

  2. Jason Manelli Says:

    The Ravens should just play the opener away on Thursday. It would be a fitting tribute to a team that did their best work ‘away’ in their playoff run. Hell, play the game in Denver if you want, and remind those pansies how Ravens Nation rolls. Sh*t happens. I’m a season ticket holder for the Ravens and have been since 1996 – the stadium will be rocking for the home opener and I’ll be there. Like you wrote Glenn, we’re not all going to get what we want and sh*t does happen. Whats more disturbing then us not opening at home, is that the Ravens are peeing on the O’s even though they are the ones asking for a big and difficult favor.

    (Edit from Glenn: In agreement with everything except the notion the Ravens are “peeing” on the Orioles. They’re negotiating…with a lot of cash. The Orioles would stand to benefit financially if they chose to help, but if they believe playing the game Thursday is better for their team, they don’t have to help either. There’s public perception that’s “peeing” on the Orioles…I’m trying to separate those things.)

  3. kevinb Says:

    glenn,i appreciate everything you and drew have to say.the precedent has already been set by the orioles about moving things around.if the ravens have to go on the road and we miss our big reward for winning the superbowl all the good will the orioles cultivated from last years success will be soiled. dont think we all havent forgotten about 15 years of pure i think the nfl is too big for its britches?absolutely.but as mel brooks said “its good to be the king”.the orioles have had 6 weeks to fix this.most of us think they are holding out for some sort of settlement. thats fine.we all know who we are dealing with in mr angelos.if the stadium authority needs to step in so be it.this is a football town and no matter whos fault it is the orioles and specifically mr angelos are gonna be pilloried.-keep up the good work.

  4. Justin Says:

    Glenn, simple solution to avoid this mishap in my opinion. If there are two professional teams that share a stadium/parking/etc, then make that an open date for the baseball team every year a home series falls on that date. There is enough shuffling done to the baseball schdules that this could have been avoided. However, the issue now is that no matter what, unless the Orioles give up a competetive edge and move the game to daytime, in which the white sox agree and the ravens can keep the home opener, the fans and the city of Baltimore are going to lose out on what could have been a great experience and showcase of the city. Orioles are not at fault here, MLB and the NFL, are at fault for failing to forsee the possibility of this occurance. There cant be that many citys that share facilites that this fix would affect. great article and kudos on the research.

  5. matt Says:

    drews on one side. nestor on the other. and you said it on page 1, youre in the middle.

    (Edit from Glenn: It’s not quite as much “in the middle” as it is that I want the Maryland Stadium Authority to get involved to make sure what’s done here is what’s best for the taxpayers of the state of Maryland considering the two buildings are publicly funded.)

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