MLB Did Not Back Down: Bravo, MLB. Bravo.

Posted Friday March 22, 2013 at 9:50:32 pm in Real Sports

The hub bub earlier today is that MLB could not reach agreement with the NFL on the Ravens/Orioles debacle. But as some people in Baltimore are trying to make it, it seems that this is an us vs. them situation. More appropriately: an Orioles vs. Ravens issue. This could not be further from the truth.

I just want to nip this in the bud right from the get go: this situation is in no way, shape, or form the Baltimore Orioles's or even Peter Angelos's fault. Yes, I get it Baltimore. Ever since the Orioles have had a terrible downward spiral that lasted from 1997 to 2011, the Orioles (and Peter Angelos) have been the whipping boys of Baltimore. Luckily for the Orioles in this situation they've built up some good will with the fans for their superb 2012 season. However, Peter Angelos seems to be getting the bulk of the blame here.

But the finger really has to be pointed at the NFL. Because of their scare and bully tactics, the Ravens will be opening on the road in 2013 rather than opening at home. 

Let that settle in for a second.

The Ravens will be opening the 2013 season on the road...less than a year removed from being Super Bowl champions. And whose decision was that? Not the Baltimore Orioles. Not Major League Baseball. Not the Chicago White Sox. And not the Major League Baseball Player's Association.

No. That decision was 100% the decision of National Football League. I implore you and the media to put them on blast.

But, hey. The NFL wants to be buddies with Baltimore! Apparently they'll throw a "party" or some sort of "pre-game concert" in Baltimore to show the city of Baltimore its support. Gee, thanks, Roger Goodell. While the team is on the road. And guess what? The NFL doesn't even know who the Ravens will open against. Just goes to show you how much of a rush job they've done on this little number.

With that said, I hope all of the Ravens fans that are mad at the situation do the following:

  • Do not in any way, shape, or form support the NFL by going to this pitiful display of a "token" prize (see: pre-game concert). As this does nothing more than give hype and an appearance that Ravens fans are happy with the entire situation.
  • Do not in any way, shape, or form place the blame on the Orioles, MLB, or Peter Angelos.

What really sickens me is that you have a few bad apples saying they're boycotting the Orioles or that they'll attend Orioles games and litter the field in protest. This is absolutely disgusting. What are we turning ourselves into? Philadelphia fans? New York fans?  

Whoever does that, I don't want them at Camden Yards. I don't want them wearing orange. I don't want them representing my team or my city. To those people I say: good riddance. Leave and never come back to Camden Yards. We don't want you. As a matter of fact: leave and never come back to Baltimore. We don't want you. You don't represent us.

Let the following sink in before you place the blame on the Orioles:

  • The NFL, Steve Bisciotti, etc. are claiming that they don't want to play at home on Wednesday because of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Guess what? Rosh Hashanah starts on Wednesday September 4th at sundown and continues through sundown on Friday September 6th. Yes, that means that if the Ravens opened on that Thursday, they'd be playing during Rosh Hashanah. Yes, the same holiday that Steve Bisciotti, the Ravens, and the NFL doesn't want to play during. It's a load of bullshit, and I hope the media and the fans call them out for it.
  • The NFL has played on Rosh Hashanah in the past, certainly as earliest as 2009....with the Jets. You know, the New York Jets. Single handedly the second largest Jewish population in the world. What's #1 you might ask? Well, that'd be Tel Aviv. You Israel. Don't believe me? Read for yourself: Jewish population by urban areas. Where's Baltimore on that list? Oh, #20....just barely edging out Montreal and Detroit.
  • In 2015 and 2016, Rosh Hashanah will start on Sunday at sundown. Yes, Sunday. Apparently Sunday NIGHT Football will have to take a backseat. Let's see if the NFL and Roger Goodell will stick to their guns in a couple years. My guess is that there will be games..and the NFL won't say a single word. People will have forgotten.
  • The NFL has played 7 times on Christmas in the last 13 years. Some of the NFL apologists like to say that Christmas isn't comparable to Rosh Hashanah..and that may be true. But let's not act as if the NFL is consistent. Far from it.
  • The NFL opened their 2010 season on Thursday September 9th, 2010. On Rosh Hashanah. Clearly the NFL cares about the holiday, right? I guess only if it's the first day.*
  • Back to 2009, there were 9. Yes, count them: 9 NFL games on at 1:00pm the day of September 20th, 2009. And if we count the 5 4pm games, that's a grand total of 14. Yes, that was the final day of Rosh Hashanah in 2009. Clearly, the NFL cares.
  • Back to 2009, you know what team the Jets played on Rosh Hashanah? The New England Patriots. Yes, Robert Kraft's New England Patriots. Man, I'm sure he really cared.

Those are just some examples. Let's not forget that the MLB schedule has been done since September 12, 2012. Yes, 6 months ago. It's a tentative master schedule. Adjustments are made. But that schedule takes into account a ton of factors involving MLB teams that share stadiums with NFL teams, NFL schedule, events, concerts, new teams, competitive balance, too many west coast vs. east coast trips, maximum number of games in a row, road trips, etc. It's no simple feat. 

Truth be told this could have been worked out in a simple way: just play the game on Wednesday. It's that damn easy. Seriously.

I've spoke to a few Jewish people and they all say the same thing: most Jews celebrate the entire length of Rosh Hashanah. 

My take? I'd be pissed if I was Jewish. I'd feel I'd been being used as a pawn and a crutch for the NFL's poor schedule making process. If anything, this should clearly show how corrupt the NFL really is. My take is that Robert Kraft, the TV networks, and the NFL didn't want to budge on Thursday and opted to use Rosh Hashanah as an excuse.

Yes, that's right. They're using a Jewish holiday for their inability to schedule the first game of a season that could have just as easily been scheduled on that Wednesday. Or even that Friday! People would watch it. Ratings wouldn't suffer. The horror of logic, folks. The NFL doesn't like it.

To make matters worse, they're using "tradition" as a pitiful excuse for this. As if this has been happening for decades. Guess what folks, this is a tradition that is not even 9 years old. It started in 2004. And this pitiful excuse for a tradition being on a "Thursday" was moved to a Wednesday as early as 2012. Yup, that was last season. The reason? To avoid conflicting with the Democratic National Convention and Obama's speech.

Guess what day they moved it to? Wednesday.

Either way, the fans are making it out to be that the Orioles and MLB didn't try. Believe me, they tried. And if you believe most of the people in the know, it was an amicable process that just couldn't come to terms. But let's not act as if the easiest answer in the room wasn't doable. It was more than doable. It was merely a situation where the NFL did not want to lose face...instead opting to force the Ravens on the road.

So, Ravens and Baltimore fans, express your distaste and disgust with the National Football League and Roger Goodell, not the Orioles or MLB. Don't let the NFL pit Baltimore against one another or its teams against one another. We're better than that.



The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer’s view