Happy Opening Day!
Baseball season is here and fans everywhere are celebrating.
Over the last couple of years there has been more and more of a push to have Opening Day set aside as a national holiday. Unfortunately I am in disagreement with my fellow fans of the sport in this regard. Let me explain.
A national holiday is something the whole country celebrates. Sure, everyone is able to turn on the television and watch a baseball game. We can all do that regardless of it being a national holiday.
What is the point of having Opening Day declared a national holiday? For everybody to be able to attend a game? Why bother having a day off to celebrate something only a small fraction of the population would be able to participate in.
Let me elaborate.
There are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. One of these teams is based in Toronto, a Canadian city. Having an American national holiday to affect a game played in another country? That doesn’t make sense.
But that’s just for starters.
Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that Toronto is close enough to New York to be included. Let’s place it with sort of as a team adjacent to Buffalo. That gives New York 3 teams. California has 5. Heck, Chicago has 2 teams. (I sort of bypass the fact New York City has 2 teams because it is so populous. And Los Angeles.)
This leaves so many states and major cities without a Major League Baseball Team. How are they supposed to celebrate Opening Day?
Of course only half of those cities are actually hosting games. Of those 30 teams playing only 15 are playing the season opener at home. This halves immediately the available celebrations. Oh sure, when those other 15 teams arrive home to play their home opener there will be celebrations, but it’s not the same as possibly a national holiday.
Again, I ask what is the point of having Opening Day a national holiday? So many of those that want to participate are unable to do so. It feels exclusionary.
What if Opening Day was declared a national holiday – would the start time for the game be different? Far too many games start at 7pm, and in the case of the Seattle Mariners and many other teams on the west coast this is true. If Opening Day were a holiday, what good is having the day off? I wouldn’t be able to take my kids to the game because even if it did only run just under 3 hours we wouldn’t get home until very late and they wouldn’t get enough sleep for school the next day. Would declaring Opening Day a national holiday guarantee day games or would the almighty television advertising dollar dictate start times?
Some may say this is “sour grapes” because my preferred team hasn’t performed well. No, my fandom isn’t dependant on a winning season. Which is good for the Seattle Mariners. One could probably say my case is more aligned with the fact that Seattle hasn’t hosted an opening day game for 6 years. This might have more merit, but again, it just isn’t quite the case. (At least it’s not against the Oakland A’s again.)
I simply see declaring Opening Day a short-sighted and desperate attempt to get more recognition for the sport. Some genuinely see this as way to celebrate this “national pastime” and I harbor no ill will against those who are simply caught up in the excitement of Opening Day. I’ll be cheering on my team but perhaps you’ll excuse me if I’m not so jubilant and hop on the bandwagon to make this a national holiday.