Traditions keep slip sliding away

One by one the traditions of the sport fade and disappear. Some, like all day games, travel by train and fielders leaving their gloves in the field after each inning naturally became outdated and obsolete, and no longer create a sense of longing.

Others, such as interleague play, day baseball during the World Series, alignment  and the designated hitter can still strike a chord and to some remain hot-button issues.

I was reminded today of another of baseball’s passing traditions, and that is Opening Day. The first game of the season was always played in Cincinnati, then Washington. That’s the way it was for decades. I’ll always remember the President of the United States throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the season.

For one day each spring, the sporting world belonged to baseball and Opening Day. The NCAA Tournament had passed and the NFL draft was weeks away. The NBA and NHL were playing out there seasons, but for one day in early April it was nothing but baseball.

The sport was center stage with no competition.

However, Major League Baseball, in its marketing greed has given that away. Now, the real opening day belongs to the NFL, with a Thursday night national game and the rest of the schedule on Sunday.

Not so baseball anymore. It gave up its spot on center stage when it opted to open in late March with games in Japan. I don’t care if a team wants to go over there during spring training, or even play a series during the season, but Opening Day?

After your fans have been waiting all winter for the renewal of the new season, the first games are played half-way across the world. Even more ridiculous, is that regular season games are played the same time spring training games are still in session.

Why doesn’t Major League Baseball reclaim center stage by making Opening Day on the Tuesday after the NCAA title game, or perhaps the Sunday after the Final Four. And, play the games in the United States.

Baseball still claims itself our national pasttime, but it makes for a weak argument when it plays Opening Day on the other side of the ocean.

 

3 thoughts on “Traditions keep slip sliding away

  1. On one hand I see the logic. You expand the game.

    On the other hand, I agree. Opening day should be for baseball. They should be day games that kids can go to and enjoy.

    Selig is increasing the cash. More teams in the playoffs. More playoffs. More devaluation of the game. Inter-league play should be killed. That is what the world series is for. If the teams are always playing then where is the drama?

  2. You and dave act like this is something new. Gee I guess the Mets didn’t open the 2000 season against the Cubs in Japan! I guess there was no buzz! I guess some people just like to whine about nothing. Every major American sport has played REGULAR SEASON games overseas. The NFL does it yearly in London,Buffalo plays a game in Toronto, the NBA has played in Japan, the NHL has teams open in Europe, and MLB has had teams open in Japan and Mexico. I guess making the sport more popular throughout the world is a bad thing!!! Wake up boys, the world of the choo choo train and no teams west of St Louis is over, even though you miss those “goold old days”.

  3. The good old days. Days where America’s kids cared about the game.

    The game is losing its status. Kids don’t care about baseball. If they had more day games and tried generating enthusiasm in this country it would be healthier for the game.

    Japan already has a healthy interest in baseball. Every year we get players from their league.