Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Baseball's Opening Night


Opening Day is not happening in Major League Baseball this year. Or it already did...kinda.

Opening Day in baseball has always been a great spectacle. For whatever reason, there is more excitement about it than there seems to be in other sports. I suppose that it is that 6 months from now, you may be pissed off about the whole thing, but for today, you are in first place. Even the Rays. "Next year" is always "this year" on opening day.

I understood why they moved the first game away from Cincinnati. Having it be a rematch of the World Series winner's LCS was a great idea. I never understood why teams would play a game and then sit a day and then finish the opening series, but I can deal with that...it's logistics - they have to finish the series on Thursday so the next one can start on Friday.

That had become a fun tradition. But this year, Major League Baseball took this American spectacle to Japan and played the opening game at 3 a.m. Pacific time. I could have forgiven them the move to Japan had the game been played at a watchable hour here (like the NFL did with the London game last year). But instead, the league basically gave their entire American fan base the finger, and told us to deal with it.

My frustration has nothing to do with being a "purist" or "traditionalist." I am fine with playing games in other countries. But the U.S. fans got screwed on this one.

If the game had been played at 10 a.m. in Japan (admittedly a bit early for a day game, but still a reasonable hour), it would have been at 6 p.m. in Oakland and 9 p.m. in Boston (the home cities of the teams involved).

What makes it even more maddening is that the league essentially admitted how stupid this all is with the rest of the scheduling this week. Both the Red Sox and A's will return to the States and play more Spring Training games before re-starting the remainder of their regular season schedule!

Had these Japanese games been exhibition games, the league wouldn't have lost anything. They'd get their international outreach. They'd get the Daisuke Matsuzaka-media frenzy in Japan. They would have sold out the games still. They would have sold the TV rights still. But they wouldn't have alienated their American fans.

Good thing Bud Selig got his contract extended again. What a great job he's done!

1 comment:

Steve said...

totally agree...except that I miss the old start in Cincy....tradition since 1866, what other sport can say that? Ridiculous to play ral games, then exhibition games, then real games...makes you wonder whose running things...oh yeah!!!