Simple Solution to a Potential Messy Showdown Between the NFL and MLB

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Simple Solution to a Potential Messy Showdown Between the NFL and MLB
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

If the Minnesota Twins come back from their current three games deficit to tie the Detroit Tigers for first place in the American League Central division, they must have a single game playoff. That playoff game will be held at the HomerDome in Minnesota.

This is key for two reasons. One, Detroit finds the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to be a horrific place to play, and the Tigers would be at a distinct disadvantage by having to play there.

Two, the night that this game is proposed, Monday, October 5th, already has a game scheduled. It is the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers at the Minnesota Vikings.

Brett Favre playing against his old team, the Packers, for the first time.

Bu the NFL is being a tad strict, as they have said they will not switch home sites and move the game out of Minnesota. The NFL and MLB have butted heads for awhile, primarily over the Sunday night telecasts. ESPN has televised the Sunday night baseball game since 1990, and in 1998 ESPN also garnered the Sunday night football package.

And the Vikings do have first rights to the stadium over the Twins, unless it is a World Series game.

During a game on September 20, 1998, played between the Baltimore Orioles (they were good back then) and New York Yankees, ESPN sought permission from MLB to move the baseball game to ESPN2 so the NFL game could be on ESPN. The station wanted the higher rated football game to be broadcast on ESPN, which had a larger audience then because that channel was in more homes.

MLB refused, and the baseball game was played on ESPN with the NFL game taking a back seat. This was also the first baseball game in 2,632 contests that Cal Ripken, Jr. did not play.

Not until 2000 did MLB give permission for ESPN to switch games, but by then it was too late. The seeds of bitterness have been sown.

Now, if the Twins tie for the division title, why can't the game be played during the day? First, the ball is impossible to see during the day, evidenced by the lost fly ball this past Saturday which helped the Twins win that game. During the day, it is worse, as the sun reflects off the teflon outer shell, making the inside dome the same color as the baseball. If a fielder is not used to the ceiling there, it can be major trouble.

Also, the game if played during the day, could not even finish. The field crew at the Metrodome needs time to convert the facility from baseball to football. The Twins have already had a 2004 game stopped in the 11th inning because the field needed to be converted for a University of Minnesota football game.

Imagine Justin Verlander on the mound Monday afternoon on October 5th, and forced to stop pitching because of a time limit on the game?

An easier solution might be for the NFL to switch night games that weekend. Move the Monday night game to Sunday night, and have the scheduled Sunday night game that weekend between the San Diego Chargers at the Pittsburgh Steelers moved to Monday night.

Night games are basically the same whether they are Sunday night or Monday night. It is just the announcers who are different*. It is an easy solution to the problem, if it ends up existing at all. Most fans attending both of the night football games are already staying out on a school night anyway.

* Although he missed much of the game in his later years, and wasn't as sharp as an analyst, I truly miss John Madden in the booth with Al Michaels. Cris Collingsworth doesn't do it for me. I think it is Madden's booming voice that I am so used to, and now realize I will not hear again.

But that idea seems too sensible, especially with the bitterness that seems to still exist between the two leagues, brought on initially by MLB. The NFL can hold the other league hostage if a conflict exists.

Something tells me the NFL is hoping for such as situation to develop.

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