Thursday, February 27, 2014

Baseball’s back! But does it really warrant a holiday for the mailman?

A federal government holiday would do nothing to enhance baseball's stature. Particularly compared to the concept of a presidential 'Opening Day,' which is the federal government's true contribution to baseball.

The spring training camps of Major League Baseball clubs are now up and running, with teams in preparation for the 2014 season.

The Chicago Cubs will play their first exhibition of the year on Thursday (against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with WGN-TV carrying the afternoon ballgame), while the Chicago White Sox will have their first exhibition Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers (with whom they share a suburban Phoenix-based training camp).

COME THE END of March and early April, the regular season will be up and running (and we will find out if there really is any reason to think the long-range future for the Cubs, and the short-range future for the White Sox will be any bit of an improvement compared to 2013.

Yes, I feel a bit of excitement at this prospect (and not just because it is circumstantial evidence that the Arctic-like weather we’ve experienced this season can’t last forever).

But I don’t know that I think baseball warrants a federal government holiday. Which is a concept that some people are seriously pushing.

Baseball and beer have ...
The Washington Post reported this week about how Budweiser-brand beer’s owners are trying to get at least 100,000 adults to sign a petition at that would officially designate a spring day each year as Baseball Opening Day – as in a federal holiday on which the government would close.

THEY ARE USING the initiative created by the president’s staff that give the illusion that the president will listen to their ideas on just about any issue. The petition, if it gets sufficient signatures, will require the president to issue an official response to the idea.

... a lengthy tie to each other. ...
Most of the people who have used it have had far-right ideological issues they wanted to tout. By no means does this obligate the president to do anything about the given issue.

So in that sense, the fact that somebody wants to say baseball’s Opening Day ought to be a holiday? Cute! But it’s not going to happen.

... Does it need a federal holiday too?
What bothers me about this is the fact that it’s not some movement arising from the people – who already know how to enjoy the return of spring and the start of a new baseball season without giving U.S. Postal Service mail carriers another day off from work.

IT’S ANHEUSER-BUSCH. AS if it’s not bad enough that the ballpark in St. Louis continues to bear the Busch name even though the brewery sold the Cardinals ball club years ago, they want to continue to brand their type of alcoholic swill over the very game.

Do we really need to enable more Budweiser to be sold to realize just how wonderful a sport baseball can be?

The 'face' of fed holiday for baseball
It’s enough to make me think I should respect any ball club that chooses to serve something other than Bud in their ballparks. Although not enough to make me think that the Cubs were somehow noble in past years by offering up Old Style.

Perhaps part of the reason I’m so cynical about this holiday business is that we just had a federal holiday that nobody quite comprehends the purpose of. Remember President’s Day? Did you rush out and buy a discounted mattress to pay tribute to the memories of Washington or Lincoln?

What is Chicago's Ozzie the face of?
I’D HATE TO see something similar happen to baseball – which has its own beauties that I’d rather not see associated with beer or Ozzie Smith (the one-time Cardinals’ shortstop is being used as a pitchman for the holiday campaign, even though we in Chicago know the only “Ozzie” in baseball is “Guillen”).

I’d rather appreciate the ballpark for the intensity of the head game – the duel between a pitcher and hitter to see who comes out on top each at-bat.

Although to me, the joy of baseball is in the fact that it is such a long season – a daily routine stretched out over six months of joy. Each and every time I can get out to a ballgame feels special; even without a federal holiday declaration.

Besides, real hard-core baseball fans know that one of the highlights of the season is the second home game of the season. It’s equally as early in the season, and you don’t get all the amateurs showing up at the ballpark just to be seen!


No comments: