Culbreath: Make opening day a national holiday?Written by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The joke has always been there. Now there’s a real effort to make it happen.
As arranged by Baseball Hall-Of-Famer Ozzie Smith (and backed by an international brewing company InBev), a petition on the White House website has been drafted in an effort to make Opening Day a national holiday.
Opening Day has always been a bit of an unofficial holiday. According to a study done by InBev, 10% of Americans have called off work to attend a game. In cities with major league teams, streets shut down to handle the influx of foot traffic. Here in Toledo, people go nuts for the Mud Hens home opener: downtown is packed solid with people either going to game 1, or going to one of the dozen or so bars that have popped up around Fifth Third Field. Even if the weather doesn’t fully cooperate (see also: last year), the fans make a day out of it.
But a national holiday?
Okay, being real for a second, anything that means a day off, I’m all about. Except, of course, because I work in broadcasting, opening day actually means a longer day for me. But I’m setting that aside for you, because I’m not exactly sure Opening Day is the day you want to declare a holiday.
Namely, because there’s more than one Opening Day.
First off, the MLB has plenty of false starts: On March 22nd and 23rd, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are playing two games in Sydney, Australia, and they count as regular season games. Is that Opening Day? Then on Sunday, March 30th (Which is also my birthday, gift cards accepted), the Dodgers play the San Diego Padres in ESPN’s “Opening Night” game, a day before everything else kicks off. Is that Opening Day? Or is Opening Day when everybody else gets started on the 31st?
(By the way, I’m still angry that the Cincinnati Reds don’t start the season anymore.)
Secondly, when Opening Day does occur, you forget that for half of the teams, they haven’t opened their stadium yet. So you’ll have this day off, and nowhere to watch a game! You’ll have to wait until they come home, and then you’re still taking your PTO.
Finally, for us minor league markets, our season starts even later than that! The Toledo Mud Hens open their season at home on April 4th against the Louisville Bats. So the 31st (or 30th, or 22nd) date is useless to us!
On top of all that, there are other sport related days that could be holidays. We’re always talking about needing the day after the Super Bowl off, but I honestly don’t know if we could handle ourselves. Who would we talk to about the game if we couldn’t gather around the water cooler to discuss it? Then again, give it 10 years, and nobody will want to talk about the game the day after, because we’ll have all talked it out on Twitter that night. Kind of like how high school reunions have been decimated by Facebook.
It’s a neat idea, but it’s too confusing. Too many variables. Unless, you know, they want to make all of those days holidays. Now that’s a petition I’d sign.
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Australia, Cincinnati Reds, ESPN, Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Smith, InBev, Los Angeles Dodgers, Louisville Bats, Major League Baseball, MLB, Opening Day, San Diego Padres, Sydney, Toledo Mud Hens