How Memorial Day weekend will end up working out is not entirely known. One option would be for the Orioles to play a night game while the lacrosse games are played at 12pm and 2:30pm. Assuring the parking lots would be cleared out in time for a 7pm game is by no means guaranteed. Should the games be delayed due to lightning or should the games go to overtime, it will be very tricky. The same can be said for the Labor Day weekend issue.
Dixon also noted the Ravens have some attendance concerns for the event (an event that has dipped to less than 100,000 combined attendance in recent years), but the scheduling factor is absolutely legit. As is the issue that losing the event means the city gives up the tourism revenue that comes with hosting the event annually.
For the Orioles, it is certainly understandable that they don’t want to commit to giving up home dates at Oriole Park at Camden Yards over Memorial Day weekend annually. Even during their recent turnaround the Birds have seen attendance issues, and Memorial Day weekend is a great chance to guarantee bigger crowds. This was likely the reason state officials leaned to the idea of Charm City being the “semi-permanent” home for the event-noting that it would only be fair to move the event out on occasion to allow the Orioles the right to the weekend.
But to even do something of this magnitude on a “semi-permanent” basis, the group hosting the event needs to know MLB will be willing to work with them on scheduling. The looming issue in 2014 proves the concept easier said than done.
This isn’t easy-which was known when the city decided to create a complex that would host two stadiums and two professional sports teams. The agreement they have in place-the one that says the Orioles get to make all decisions-is simply not good enough. It allows the Orioles and Major League Baseball to get what is best for themselves, but it does not guarantee to protect what is best for business owners in the city of Baltimore.
There won’t be as much anger from lacrosse fans as there was from football fans about this particular sequel-but let it be a reminder to everyone in this area that this issue is not going away until the state of Maryland (namely the Maryland Stadium Authority) gets involved to better protect all parties.
And as if you needed the reminder, don’t forget there’s a baseball game scheduled the night the NFL season kicks off in 2014.