PITCHING A HOLIDAY...AGAIN
If I were King of the World -- or at least Donald Trump -- wed all be home with our families and friends this Wednesday. Yep . . . no school, no work, stock market closed, no mail. You see, in my world, this Wednesday would be National Baseball Day.
Ive been campaigning for a national holiday tied in to the national pastime for a few years now, and I suppose Ill continue until the right person or people -- people much smarter than baseball commissioner Bud Selig -- start listening. Whether or not you enjoy the game of baseball, hear me on this: America needs National Baseball Day.
Why this Wednesday, you ask? Each year, the holiday would coincide with Game 4 of the World Series, the oldest and greatest event in American team sports. Best of all -- and pay attention, Mr. Selig -- Game 4 would start no later than three oclock, eastern time (and only that late if a west-coast team is hosting). The idea, friends, is to play this wonderful childs game when children can actually watch, under the sunshine.
Do you realize the last World Series game to be watched with sunglasses was 1984? From Don Denkingers infamous call in 1985 to Kirk Gibsons homer in 88, from the epic Game 7 between Minnesota and Atlanta in 91 to Joe Carters Mazeroski imitation in 93, from Edgar Renterias Series-winning hit in 97 to Luis Gonzalezs Series-winning hit in 2001 . . . all came after your favorite 10-year-olds bedtime. Imagine the legion of 10-year-old Red Sox worshipers sound asleep Sunday night when Game 2 ended at 11:30 pm in Boston? That is, quite simply, criminal.
Oh, the TV fat cats will hear none of this. Theres ad revenue to build, and prime time slots in which to build it. As quoted in the October 18th Wall Street Journal, heres the fat cats lackey, er, commissioner Selig: The ratings get bigger and bigger as the night goes on, and so our daytime ratings are never what the nighttime ratings are. . . . And so its very hard to tell [TV executives] they are doing the wrong thing. They are not doing the wrong thing.
If youve got a droplet of purists blood in you -- or if youre a parent -- comments like that make you want to force Selig to catch Randy Johnson without a mask. Baseball is suffering, if you havent noticed. (And if you havent noticed . . . all the worse.) From steroid rumors to chairs being thrown into the stands, there are enough black eyes on the game to seriously undermine yet another attendance record set in 2004. The fact is, baseballs audience is aging, and becoming more exclusive. National Baseball Day would free everyone involved to take a breath, remember whats important when we take a break from our workaday lives . . . and give a game -- one game -- back to the kids.
Im old enough to remember World Series games in the afternoon and, let me tell you, my world stopped on those days. A daytime Series game was an event every bit as schedule-altering as the Super Bowl. A circus could have set up across the street and I wouldnt have known (or cared). And when the ninth inning came? Rapture.
You say you couldnt care less about the World Series, or baseball in general? Fine, no problem. Enjoy the holiday! Visit a park with your family. See a movie. Take a day trip to a place youve had on your to-do list. This is a holiday for everyone in America, and youre not obligated to do anything (just as youre not obligated to hang a flag on July 4th). All Id ask during my stint as King would be that, as you enjoy this much needed break between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, you remember that it was Americas game -- baseball -- that got you there.