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.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.