Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Biscotti said his team and the NFL are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the season opens at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 5, so it’s up to the Baltimore Orioles to give a little themselves.
The Baltimore Sun reported that Biscotti has offered to cover any lost revenues the Orioles might incur if they agree to move their 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards to an afternoon start time.
“In fairness to Major League Baseball and the Angeloses, we’re trying to dump a pretty big problem on them and we’re asking them to make a lot of concessions that will benefit us and potentially harm them though it doesn’t necessarily harm them,” Bisciotti said, according to the newspaper. “The bottom line is if they wanted to do it, they would find a way to do it. From the Ravens and the NFL standpoint, we’ll do whatever we have to do in order to keep that tradition.”
The defending Super Bowl champion has opened the season on a Thursday night since 2004. Last year, the NFL moved the opener to a Wednesday night to avoid conflicting with President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention.
So far, there’s been no progress in talks for this season’s opener, and Wednesday, Sept. 4 is not an option because it’s the first night of Rosh Hashanah.
“I don’t know how much goodwill we’ve built up at both the league level and the team level. I hope it’s enough that [the Orioles] say, ‘This is a good thing to bend over backwards to accommodate them,’ ” Bisciotti said, according to the newspaper. “I think a doubleheader — if we can move it a little later and they can move it a little earlier — and we can pull it off, I’m trying to figure what would be a greater day in Baltimore. The call-in sick factor in Baltimore that day … they might just close every office in town and say, ‘Go do what you want to do.’ I think it’s an opportunity for Major League Baseball to look really good, too, if they can some way figure it out.”
Katy Feeney, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for club relations and scheduling, told the newspaper that the situation “doesn’t just involve the Orioles.”
“The White Sox would take a broadcast revenue hit and the O’s would take a broadcast revenue and attendance hit. And there is a baseball operations impact. Conceivably both teams could be in playoff contention, so it wouldn’t be fair to them to make them play a day game after both teams played a night game and traveled the night before,” she told the newspaper. “We make accommodations in our scheduling in the postseason. We work with the NFL. But this was something that was brought to us as a possibility just three weeks or a month ago. We always want to work with whoever wants to work with us, but why should these teams be punished?”
The Sun reported that Orioles owner Peter Angelos couldn’t be reached for comment. Greg Bader, the team’s vice president for marketing and public relations, declined comment, according to the newspaper.
The Orioles are scheduled to play the Indians in Cleveland on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 7:05 p.m. Under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, getaway games shall not be scheduled or rescheduled to start later than 5 p.m. if either club is required to travel for a day game, scheduled the next day, between cities in which the in-flight time is more than 1 hour.
The rule can be waived by a vote by the players on the team it affects, in this case the Orioles.
“We have had discussions with representatives of the Orioles, and we have offered to make them financially whole,” Ravens President Dick Cass posted Monday on the team’s Twitter account. “We’ve left it there. Now the commissioner is trying to find if he can find a solution.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the NFL’s owners meetings in Phoenix on Monday that he has twice has spoken with his MLB counterpart, Bud Selig, seeking a solution.
“Unfortunately, the only [other] option is to take the Ravens on the road,” Goodell said. “We think that is wrong for the Ravens’ fans. We would not want that to happen.
“We are working on parallel tracks for a couple more weeks. Clearly, we are getting to a point where we have to make that decision.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
This article was originally posted on ESPN.com