Ravens open on road because of Orioles conflict

Consider this a rare example of the NFL not getting its way.

Instead of celebrating their Super Bowl title with a game at

their home stadium, the Baltimore Ravens will start the 2013

regular season on the road, because Major League Baseball and the

Baltimore Orioles wouldn’t budge.

The NFL likes to have its reigning champion open a season at

home and wanted to have the Ravens play in Baltimore at night on

Thursday, Sept. 5. But with the Orioles already set to host the

Chicago White Sox next door at 7:05 p.m. on that date, and the

leagues and teams unable to reach a compromise, the NFL announced

Friday the Ravens will have to play somewhere else.

The Ravens and Orioles play at adjacent stadiums and share a

parking lot, so they avoid playing at the same time because of

traffic problems.

”While we are disappointed for the fans in Baltimore,” NFL

spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an emailed statement, ”we

appreciate the efforts of the Ravens, Orioles, and Major League

Baseball and fully understand the logistical problems in trying to

schedule the teams on the same day. The Ravens will open the season

on the road.”

He added that the league would like to set up some sort of Super

Bowl celebration in Baltimore that night, perhaps including a

pregame concert, even if the Ravens aren’t there.

The Ravens’ Week 1 opponent hasn’t been announced yet.

”The Ravens and Orioles explored options, but ultimately

decided the two games could not be played in Baltimore on the same

day,” the NFL club posted on its Twitter feed.

Major League Baseball declined to comment, referring reporters

to a statement issued by the Orioles, who said they had been

working ”over the past several weeks” to try to accommodate the

Ravens.

”Given the limited options available to reschedule the game at

that late date in the season, the parties jointly determined that

even an earlier start time would still create such enormous

logistical difficulties that it would greatly diminish the fan

experience for both events, which all parties realized would not be

in the interest of their fans or the city,” the Orioles said.

Complicating matters were the rules in baseball’s collective

bargaining agreement that govern rescheduling games – and the fact

that both the Orioles (at the Cleveland Indians) and the White Sox

(at the New York Yankees) have night games in other cities on Sept.

4, making a day game on Sept. 5 problematic.

The NFL began opening its regular season on a Thursday in 2002.

Last season, though, the league chose to play a game on a Wednesday

for the first time in more than 60 years, kicking things off on

that day instead of Thursday to avoid conflicting with President

Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

The NFL decided a Wednesday start wasn’t an option this time

because the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah falls on Sept. 4.