ESPN and Major League Baseball have agreed to switch the starting time of a Yankees-Red Sox game to avoid conflicting with Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
ESPN told The Associated Press that the Sept. 27 game was returning to its original start time of 1 p.m. EDT. It had been changed to 8 p.m. to accommodate ESPN’s schedule; Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and atonement, begins at sundown that evening.
“I am pleased we were able to resolve this sensitive issue that impacted many baseball fans and are able to move the game at Yankee Stadium to 1 p.m.,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement, crediting ESPN for helping to “solve this conflict.” ESPN will still televise the game.
Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., had sent a letter to Selig and ESPN President George Bodenheimer urging the game be returned to its original afternoon start time.
“There’s no reason why the largest Jewish community in the country should be punished for a last-minute scheduling swap,” Weiner wrote in the letter.
Weiner told the AP that he had spoken with Selig earlier in the day. “He said he agreed, and that he had heard from his own rabbi, that this was a problem,” Weiner said. “He said he was riding ESPN to change their position.”
“It was a basic thing that they can do to be sensitive, and the right thing was done,” he added.
The congressman said that ESPN had the contractual right to change the starting time. “There is the contract, there is the major league rule book, but then there is a higher authority that was dictating a lot of this for fans,” he said.
Earlier this year, the NFL agreed to move the start time of the New York Jets’ home game against the Tennessee Titans on the same day from 4:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. That change was made after Jets owner Woody Johnson sent a letter to commissioner Roger Goodell suggesting the switch, so that fans could arrive home before sundown.