Orioles fans stood and applauded Friday as an image of Joe Flacco hoisting the Lombardi Trophy flashed on the video board at Camden Yards, part of an Opening Day tribute to the Super Bowl champion Ravens. But the friendly public moment belied a bit of unseen intrigue as several members of the Ravens organization, citing scheduling conflicts, declined to be on hand for the pregame ceremonies. The absence of a Ravens representative followed a recent standoff between NFL and Major League Baseball officials over scheduling of the Ravens' opener, which became a road game because of conflicts with an Orioles home date. A Ravens spokesman confirmed that the Orioles invited several people in the Ravens organization to participate in Opening Day ceremonies. "However, due to conflicts of schedule and prior commitments for each person, unfortunately, today didn't work out," said the spokesman, Patrick Gleason, in an email. "It was determined that those invited would try to reschedule an opportunity to attend a different game this season." Orioles spokesman Greg Bader declined to comment other than to say the club wanted to honor the Ravens in some fashion. In lieu of having anyone throw out a first pitch, the Orioles simply laid a baseball by the pitching rubber in tribute to late manager Earl Weaver, who died in January. Though both sides downplayed the issue, the absence of a Ravens representative on Opening Day is sure to fuel speculation of lingering bitterness between the organizations. Last month, the Ravens asked the Orioles to shift the start time of a Sept. 5 home game against the Chicago White Sox so the Ravens could open the NFL season later that evening at M&T Bank Stadium. The Orioles and Major League Baseball balked, saying the start time couldn't be moved because the Orioles and White Sox would both be traveling from other cities the previous night. The sides could not reach a compromise, and the Ravens will open on the road, unusual for the defending Super Bowl champion.
Citing schedule conflicts, Ravens decline invitation to take part in O's Opening Day
Baltimore Sun | Apr 7