The Archdiocese of Baltimore released a statement on Wednesday afternoon expressing disappointment with the Orioles decision to play their first game of the 2012 season on Good Friday.
"On Friday, April 6, nine Major League Baseball teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, will play season-opening baseball games,” the statement begins. “On the same day, countless Christians and Jews will mark solemn and holy religious observances, Good Friday and the start of Passover."
Good Friday is a religious holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. According to the Bible, Jesus spends six hours on the cross from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jake Arrieta’s first pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
"Three o’clock is when Jesus died," said Sister Paulette Doyas, a diehard O’s fan who works in the Admissions Office at Notre Dame University of Maryland. "I really am not happy. It’s a solemn day for Catholics. I’m praying for rain. That would show the Lord’s sense of humor."
Good Friday masses are stripped down affairs, often without music. The will hold a "Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion" at 3 p.m. and "Stations of the Cross at 7:30pm."
The press release singles out one team, the Cincinnati Reds, who requested to have its game moved from Friday to Thursday in apparent response to public outcry, and MLB capitulated.
Issued by Sean Caine, Communications Director for the Archdiocese, the statement also expresses concern with the decision.
"How regrettable it is that Major League Baseball and the Orioles apparently care so little about the deeper loyalties of so many of its fans. The decision to schedule season-opening games on Good Friday is just the latest example of a growing disregard for the deeply-held and widely-practiced faith traditions of the people of our great Nation."
The Church’s position on the matter ends with a quote from John Cardinal O'Connor, who criticized the decision to play baseball on Good Friday in 1998.
"Playing on Good Friday...is cheap and cheapens our culture, no matter how big the box-office receipts."