In honor of my dear friend and mentor John Eisenberg (who will be mentioned as a spiritual advisor to “Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story” next month), I proudly present “Facts & Opinions” regarding the Baltimore Ravens’ ugly issue with the NFL Kickoff Game and parking space on September 5, 2013:
Fact: The Baltimore Orioles have full rights and use of Camden Yards and the entire downtown sports marketplace on Thursday, September 5, 2013
Opinion: If the Baltimore Orioles were owned be me – or anyone like me who actually puts Baltimore FIRST – I’d be doing anything in my power to make sure the city doesn’t suffer the loss of this kind of event.
Fact: Peter Angelos hasn’t said anything regarding moving his baseball team’s game on that night.
Opinion: If Peter Angelos wanted to move the 7:05 p.m. start to earlier in the day or onto Saturday for a day/night doubleheader, it would be getting done.
Fact: The NFL has played on Rosh Hashana (and other Jewish & religious holidays) before and has played on Thanksgiving and Christmas regularly.
Opinion: If the Ravens were serious about opening at home, Steve Bisciotti would raise hell with Roger Goodell and NBC about moving the game to Tuesday or Wednesday – TV ratings be damned! And he should punch his 31 partners in the kidneys if this game winds up in Denver or Pittsburgh.
Fact: It takes agreement from Major League Baseball, the Baltimore Orioles, the Chicago White Sox and the Major League Baseball Players’ Assoication to move a game.
Opinion: MLB is not going to do anything to help the NFL at this point when they’re being dominated across the board. The entire notion that a Ravens opening game is more significant than a Thursday night baseball game for Baltimore in September is highly offensive to anyone involved in baseball.
Fact: The NFL decided to start playing games and programming on Sunday nights directly against the World Series two years ago.
Opinion: Bud Selig has a long memory.
Fact: The NFL is the biggest sports league in the United States of America.
Opinion: Major League Baseball still thinks it’s the biggest sports league in the USA.
Fact: The 2013 NFL schedule is coming soon.
Opinion: The Baltimore Ravens will be opening the 2013 season in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 5.
Fact: Baltimore will lose a LOT of money, prestige and a “world’s stage night” if the NFL season doesn’t open here on Thursday, Sept. 5.
Opinion (and the only one on this issue I share with Drew Forrester): I’d be shocked if Peter Angelos doesn’t move the game to a 3:05 p.m. start just to be the a**hole he’s always been. If ANYONE else on EARTH owned the Orioles, the Ravens would be cordially invited to the facility so that Baltimore could win.
Once again, when given a chance to show his “class” or his “ass” the owner of the Baltimore Orioles has gone Pontius Pilate in giving his “hometown” a chance to have a civic celebration of mammoth proportions over ego, money, petty greed and just saying “It was MINE first!”
Typical. Predicable. If you’ve been paying attention to the way the Baltimore Orioles operate, you knew it was never going to happen. But, somehow, the optimist in Steve Bisciotti believed Angelos would be generous and Selig would be reasonable. That somehow, the Ravens could find a way to appease or compensate the Orioles and make the switch or turn it into a doubleheader that benefits the entire community and maybe even sells the Orioles more tickets if the Ravens encouraged fans to attend the baseball game first.
And the NFL and MLB have moved dates for half a century, even more so when they shared more than half of the stadiums in the league during the 1960′s through the 1990′s.
But the “peace” offerings didn’t happen this week in New York or Baltimore at any level. Nobody in Baltimore got what they wanted. The Ravens are on the road. The fans got screwed. Denver gets a kickoff night.
Oh, that’s right. Peter Angelos and the Orioles got what they wanted — the stadium on Thursday, Sept. 5th. And, again, it was theirs all along so they were under no obligation to do anything.
And now the Ravens and everyone else are blaming everyone BUT the Orioles and MLB for not being a little more generous and sensible.
There’s culpability all around — for NBC, for the Ravens, Goodell, the NFL and obviously for the Orioles, whose bull roast is more important than the Ravens prom at the event space called Camden Yards and downtown Baltimore.
But there is no sense here – only dollars.
This is the beginning — or the continuation — of two sports teams and two owners who are not spiritually aligned here in the Charm City.
I always told you and Steve Bisciotti and Dick Cass the same thing: you try to get along with the old man but it’s impossible.
Hope everyone enjoys that Orioles game on Sept. 5. And this is only the beginning. We’ll be hearing and talking about this one all summer as we pack our bags for Denver on Labor Day.