The Orioles play the White Sox on Thursday, September 5. It’s a night game. It has to be a night game because both the Orioles and the White Sox are coming in to Baltimore off the road following night games and thus won’t even be getting into town until the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Problem: September 5 is supposed to be the Ravens’ opener, and for the past decade the defending Super Bowl champs have opened the season on that Thursday night. Because they play right next door to each other and share a parking lot the games cannot be played at the same time. Here’s NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s take on it:
“We are trying to work out an accommodation to allow the Orioles’ game to happen earlier in the afternoon and the Ravens to celebrate their Super Bowl championship with their fans at home on Thursday night. We think that is the right thing. We have agreed to move the game a little bit later in the evening to try to accommodate the baseball game.”
I’m sure he does think that’s the right thing as it benefits the NFL. But it’s not as if the Orioles can unilaterally change the schedule. The White Sox have a say. As does the players’ union, who will not cotton to a day game after a night game when both teams are travelling. And that is the White Sox’ only trip to Baltimore all season.
My guess is that money will be thrown at the Orioles and they’ll agree to a doubleheader that Saturday or something. But it seems that the much fairer solution would be for the NFL to make its schedule in such a way that doesn’t conflict with a baseball schedule that has been set for months.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.