Why is it that baseball is playing two games a week before every other Major League baseball team takes the field? Well, we have seen this a lot recently in sports across the board. Most recently, the NFL has been playing games in Europe. If my memory serves right, Chicago and Tampa Bay played there this past season. I didn't like it that the NFL played games in Europe this past year. Mostly because there aren't many homes games in the NFL for respective teams. So, the "home" team for that game had to give up a home game here in the states which I'm sure annoys some fans. And now, MLB is following suit.
I understand why they do it. Each league is attempting to brand their own sport to an entirely new fan base which obviously equals more revenue. These professional sports organizations are attempting to reach to an entire new group of potential fans. The NBA has become the first "true" global sports league. Not only is there a great international following because many of the world's best play in the NBA, but even some NBA players have played overseas. Shit, some team in Turkey appreciated the presence of Deron Willams so much during the NBA lockout that they retired his number after like 8 games. LINK HERE So yeah, I get all the benefits of playing games overseas, especially when baseball opens the season with Ichiro playing in his native country. He isn't the only Suzuki playing in the game; Kurt Suzuki (catcher for the Athletics) will be there too.
But MLB needs to remember their "home" fans first. These games in particular will start at a time here in the US in which no one will be watching. Most will be sleeping while others will be on their way to work. Even if you did want to get up and watch it, you couldn't. This game wasn't even shown live on TV. It is however being shown on delay on MLB Network and if you do actually find it, it's called "Spring Training" on your TV menu. Kinda funny if you ask me. But for me, that really isn't the issue. Call me old fashion but I LOVE Opening Day. There just is something sacred about it to us serious baseball fans. There is so much excitement for that day. A day in which we waited out the long cold winter for.
This day is a border line national holiday for some. I know I treat it that way. Seriously, look at the logo to the right. It's red/white/blue and has stars in it. Does that not SCREAM national holiday? That's is about as patriotic as it gets. Personally, I can't remember the last Opening Day I missed. I have been in front of a TV on that day for many years now. It started when I was in middle school. My mother would call me in sick from school that day so I could get together with a buddy or two (you know who you are) and enjoy the first games of the season. That continued into high school. It got a little easier in college when I could just skip classes that day and was old enough to enjoy a few adult beverages. I know I'm not the only one who loves Opening Day to the point where nothing will stop me from watching it on TV. All of those teams that play in the afternoon still manage pack the stands so I must not be the only one playing hookie.
My point is, let's keep Opening Day the sacred day that it is. You want to play some games in Japan? Fine, I don't have a problem with that. Just play them on or after the TRUE Opening Day. So, here's to Opening Day and to all those playing "those" managers in fantasy baseball this week that still hold the Opening Day tradition so true, that they don't set their lineups tomorrow either.
By the way, don't forget to join our Behind the Bench Sports Fantasy Baseball league! It is hosted by Yahoo!Sports. Our league ID is: 166347 and password is: btbsports
Oh yeah, GO WHITE SOX!