- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Two weeks ago, officials from the Baltimore Ravens publicly showed no resentment toward the Orioles when the Super Bowl champions announced they would be forced to start the season on the road because of a scheduling conflict with the baseball team.
But, when the Orioles celebrated their home opener Friday, there were no Ravens included in the pregame ceremonies. Why? The Ravens who were invited by the Orioles to attend the festivities declined due to "conflicts of schedule," a Ravens spokesman told the Baltimore Sun.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, and perhaps it's a coincidence that every single one of the invited Ravens had scheduling conflicts (just like the Ravens and Orioles have a scheduling conflict on Sept. 5). It seems strange that not one member of the Ravens organization could have been present when the Orioles recognized their championship season. As The Sun pointed out, the absence of a Ravens representative on the Orioles' Opening Day will only fuel speculation that there is lingering bitterness.
To be fair, another Ravens spokesman said there were about 100 staff and family members from the team who attended the Orioles' home opener. The Ravens also sent video footage so the Orioles could pay tribute to the Super Bowl champions before the game.
I'm not saying the Ravens are wrong in failing to have a player or coach at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Ravens are well within their rights not to participate in the Orioles' home opener when they can't celebrate their September opener because of the baseball team.
This isn't the first time that there have been questions about the relationship between Baltimore's football and baseball teams. Last year, just an hour before the first pitch of the Orioles' opener, the Ravens posted a picture of an empty M&T Bank Stadium on Facebook with the slogan: "Raise your hand if you'd rather be cheering in THIS stadium than a baseball stadium today!" The Ravens quickly removed the post and apologized.
Now, the latest conflict is about the schedule. The Ravens can't kick off the 2013 season at home on Sept. 5 because the Orioles are playing at home that night. This marks the first time since 2003 that the defending Super Bowl champions won't open their season at home. The regular-season schedule is expected to be announced April 16, and the Ravens' home opener could be released earlier than that. The Ravens are likely to open at either Denver, Chicago or Pittsburgh.