Bring Opening Day back where it belongs
By Greg Sullivan
"Ohayou!" It's a Japanese phrase for good morning, but if an American were to overhear someone saying the phrase they would probably think they were referring to the midwestern U.S. state of Ohio.
If they were overhearing the sticky-fingered Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig lately, though, they could have been hearing both or either.
Baseball is a game deep in tradition and lore. In America, that tradition is what the game has always had to pride itself on and to distinguish it from the many other upstart sports that have threatened to swipe its national past-time status.
The league, which more or less got started in 1869, ironically, with a game in Ohio, wasn't in much danger of losing that status until now that Selig has gotten into the act of selling off the sport's tradition to the highest bidder.
For the third time in about eight years, the major league baseball season opened with a game in Japan. The Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics split a two game series in the Tokyo Dome last week, a few days before other teams opened their seasons. And yes, the games counted.
For many seasons before this new concept took over the league's thinking the idea was that the first game must be held annually in Cincinnati, the site of the first game where the Cincinnati Red Stockings beat a team called Mansfield 48-14 back on June 1, 1869. The thinking during those years was that tradition trumped everything.
These days, money trumps everything. New markets are the justification. This way of thinking, however, could be the very thing that undoes the sport.
Not to say, international fans can't enjoy the game or even add to its status and prestige, but giving away our Opening Day is going to far. Japan, or possibly some other interested country, can have a game or two in the middle of the season. Or they could have a preseason game that doesn't count, which would be an even better solution.
But this recent development is not right. Fans shouldn't have to be awake at five in the morning to watch their favorite team start their season. Not that this writer has particular interest in either the Red Sox or Athletics, but next time it could be the Braves that draw the short straw.
I’m not alone in this assertion. Columnists around the country, and presumably many fans, have bashed this situation. But the message is very important: Selig, do it again and it should you can say, “Sayonara” to your job.