Opening Day Disappointment

You know what was most memorable about Opening Day 2008 memorable for me? A’s Mark Ellis’ first inning homer off Daisuke Matsuzaka. Why, you ask? Because it was the only thing I was awake for this morning, or Japanese evening. I set my alarm clock the night before for 6 AM. So I woke up at 6 AM, scratched myself, watched the first pitch, dozed off again briefly, and was awoken by the crack of Mark Ellis’ bat with a line drive home run to left field. Then I was out for the count until 9 AM chemistry lab. There is something very wrong with this (besides going to class). Opening Day games should not begin before Saved by the Bell reruns start on TBS.

I usually celebrate Opening Day like I would celebrate a national holiday. But today did not even feel like Opening Day. I, like most real baseball fans, equate Opening Day with sunflower seeds, cold beer (or soda for the younguns), sunny afternoons, and skipping out on commitments to catch your team’s new beginning. Opening Day is not bacon and eggs with a cup of coffee. March 25 was Opening Day over easy. I am sure I would have mustered the energy to watch this game if it were my team playing, but fans should not be put in this position. The real Opening Day is March 30, 2008 when the Braves take on the Nationals in D.C. at 8:05 PM. I’d rather this game be during the day, since it is Opening Day, but I won’t complain too much because I am glad to see the game will be played in the contiguous United States, at our capital.

I am kicking myself for missing this Red Sox-A’s game. I am reading the recap as I write this and it appears I missed a goodie. Manny Ramirez drove in the winning runs in the top of the 10th off of Huston Street and Papelbon closed it out. I would have skipped class for this one. I may have to go to bed earlier tonight and try to wake up for the game tomorrow and hope they can play another exciting game.

This “Opening Day” took place while all of the other teams are still playing spring training games. To make up for this, the league let the teams take more than 25 guys over there to continue evaluating talent which was fair. The Red Sox and A’s will play one more regular season game in Japan, then come back to America and resume spring training part deux. If this were a movie, we would be movie nerds picking apart continuity errors. Usually, spring training concludes before the season begins.

A disappointing trend is emerging in our American sports and that is globalization. Commissioners of American sports, especially Bud Selig of MLB and Roger Goodell of the NFL feel that the game must be expanded into other countries, even if it means robbing the current fans of the sport of games played in their hometowns. This ties back to the article written by Phil regarding with Selig trying to make MLB into a global superpower. Selig is trying too hard to prove that America is the greatest baseball league in existence. I doubt any country thinks that they have a league that can compete on a talent and economic level with Major League Baseball. It started with people from Latin America migrating here to play baseball (which was incredible for baseball), and the same can happen with the Asian players and those from other countries.

Players who fizzle in America go to Japan, and players who thrive in Japan come to America. This says something about the prestige of both leagues. They know that Major League Baseball is the summit for baseball, so Selig can quit flexing his MLB muscle for these fans. Fans in America should not lose home games so that Bud can show other countries how to play the game. The Japanese League has been widely quantified as the next best league, but the great players keep leaving for America. My main point is that the globalization of baseball should be more players migrating to America, rather than baseball migrating to the world. A steady influx of foreign talent is great for baseball as the talent pool becomes much more potent, which breeds greater parity and competition. So making MLB a premier league of sorts may not a bad thing, but it should be the super league based on the much superior talent that comes here to play and should never include a franchise outside of America. Bud, you can quit shopping the world to the league because foreign franchises (minus Canada) are not feasible and it is no secret that when it comes to baseball, MLB belongs to America and it is the league to play in (but for most of us, watch).

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