The Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII will obviously go down as the biggest sports story of 2013 here in Baltimore. But for those of us who live in Charm City-we truly know the story that has actually been the most discussed.
The Ravens opened on the road in 2013-getting absolutely crushed by the Denver Broncos in the process-due to the fact that the Baltimore Orioles were previously scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox on September 5-a date that was traditionally held for the defending Super Bowl champs to open at home.
The debate that occurred between when the Ravens won the Super Bowl and when they played the Thursday night opener in the Mile High City was one of the historically contentious debates our city has ever seen. Instead of debating what was best for the city, the debate became more about allegiances. The common question was about whether you supported the Ravens or the Orioles-the National Football League or Major League Baseball-and who you thought the bad guys were in the process.
What was so rarely discussed was what was best for Baltimore and what needed to happen to ensure such issues wouldn’t occur moving forward. As I mentioned in a column this March, this issue wasn’t as uncommon as some wanted to paint it. I reported then that the 2012 Baltimore Marathon was dangerously close to being cancelled because the O’s could have ended up hosting Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS had they won the AL East. (They would have still needed to win the ALDS to host the first two games of the Championship Series, but the race would have been cancelled prior to that because of the possibility.)
As I reported in March, the Birds had the power to force such a cancellation because in their lease agreement for the Camden Yards complex with the Maryland Stadium Authority-they have been granted not only the first right to dates available, but they have essentially been granted ALL rights to dates available. They have the exclusive power to decide they want a date for a game (or an event), preventing the Baltimore Ravens or another entity from using the complex.
I told you then this situation wasn’t going anywhere. I told you then this was an issue that needed to be addressed in a bigger picture scope than just adjusting a football game. I wasn’t kidding.
The situation already looms as a factor twice in 2014. The Orioles are scheduled to be home against the Cleveland Indians over Memorial Day weekend-the same weekend the Ravens are scheduled to host the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium. Then on Labor Day weekend the Birds are scheduled to be home against the Minnesota Twins-the same weekend Ohio State is scheduled to face Navy at the home of the Ravens. The scheduling complexities of that weekend have already lead to the cancellation of the Grand Prix of Baltimore for at least the next two years if not longer. No solutions have been determined for those events-instead the parties involved appear to simply be hoping those events will work out.
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