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MLB, NFL face scheduling dilemma

PHOENIX (AP) - Major League Baseball is looking into a solution to a scheduling issue that could prevent the Super Bowl champion Ravens from opening next season in Baltimore.

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Traditionally, the NFL's champs kick off the season on the Thursday night after Labor Day with a home game. But the Orioles are set to play the White Sox that night at Camden Yards, which uses the same parking lots as the Ravens' stadium.

``From a baseball competitive standpoint, it would be very difficult to change times. We're talking about September,'' MLB senior vice president Katy Feeney, who oversees scheduling, said Tuesday.

Sept. 5, to be exact, in the midst of the stretch run for the pennant and wild cards. The NFL said it does not have the option of moving the Ravens' opener to the previous night because of Rosh Hashanah.

Discussions center on possibly switching White Sox-Orioles to a Thursday afternoon game, but the Orioles are in Cleveland the previous night. Moving that game to the afternoon also is a possibility.

That also would involve changing the White Sox-Yankees game in New York on Sept. 4 to a day contest.

Or the Orioles could simply not play on Sept. 5 and schedule a doubleheader against Chicago on another day that weekend.

Attendance and broadcast revenue also would be affected.

``There's not a lot of wiggle room,'' Feeney said, adding that MLB's schedule came out late last year.

The Ravens prefer to kick off the season, enjoying the spoils of being a champion and also getting a long rest period after their opener. If the NFL and MLB can't work out a compromise, the Ravens could wind up in the Sunday night game on Sept. 8; the Orioles play the White Sox that afternoon.

This is the first time that the Ravens and Orioles have had a scheduling conflict.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said earlier in the day he would be ``disappointed for our fans'' if the team opens on the road.

``The team belongs to the fans, the team belongs to the community,'' Harbaugh said. ``You say whose team is this? It's the community's team. This is pro football, it's about the greater Ravens nation, so to speak. To have that home game after the Super Bowl has kind of become tradition. It's something that we would cherish. It would mean a lot to our fans.

``As far as the football team, we'll play them anywhere. We'll play anywhere, we'll go on the road, we'll play at home. We don't care who you schedule us against. We have to play eight on the road and eight at home anyway, so if they send us on the road, we'll happily play in that game. But I will be disappointed for our fans.''

---

AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker in New York contributed to this story.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
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