Representative Anthony Weiner (D – Brooklyn and Queens) today called on ESPN and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball to honor the holiest day on the Jewish calendar by returning the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox game to the afternoon from the afternoon of September 27th, which is the beginning of Yom Kippur.
The September 27th game between the Yankees and the Red Sox was originally scheduled to take place at 1 p.m., but was moved to 8 p.m. at the request of ESPN, who planned on broadcasting the game during Sunday Night Baseball.
The following letter was sent to ESPN President, George Bodenheimer who under contract with MLB, has control of scheduling the times of baseball games and Commissioner Allan Selig.
September 1, 2009
Dear Commissioner Selig & Mr. Bodenheimer:
I write to express my disappointment with the rescheduling of the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox game from the afternoon to the evening of September 27th, which is the beginning of the most holy Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. I urge you to switch the game back to its originally scheduled time of 1 p.m.
As I am sure you are aware, Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Sunday September 27 in New York and continues until one hour after sundown on Monday, September 28. Jews will refrain from work, will fast and will attend synagogue services beginning on Sunday evening. Because the game was moved, it now runs into direct conflict with the religious requirement for players, such as Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox, team personnel and fans to be home by sundown. In New York in particular, home of the largest Jewish community in America, the current scheduling of this game ensures that any observant Jew who purchased tickets will lose their money because they will be unable to attend due to religious reasons.
There’s no reason why the largest Jewish community in the country should be punished for a last-minute scheduling swap. I’m hopeful that ESPN will do the right thing and return the game to its 1 p.m. start and that ESPN will show greater sensitivity when making scheduling decisions in the future.
I look forward to your prompt response.
ANTHONY D. WEINER
Member of Congress