Monday, October 17, 2011

National Baseball Day: The Campaign Continues!

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM

I’ve enjoyed baseball’s postseason, as I have for more than 30 years now. Detroit’s upset of the Yankees (any Yankee defeat in October is an upset), the Rangers’ sustained offensive outburst, and the St. Louis Cardinals reaching the World Series without a solitary pitch being thrown by their ace, Adam Wainwright. (This doesn’t happen, folks.) But I haven’t been able to enjoy most of the games like I would if my two daughters (ages 12 and 9) were able to see the final out with me. With games often ending past 11 p.m., I’ve begun a custom of leaving notes with results under my daughters’ cereal bowls for the following morning. The custom will continue when the World Series opens Wednesday night. The greatest sporting event on the planet reduced to a milk-stained note from Dad.

The last time natural shadows could have been seen during the World Series was Game 6 between the St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins in 1987, a contest that started at 4 p.m., but under the roof of the abominable Metrodome. That cruel coincidence gave birth to an era of baseball’s signature event being decided long after the boys and girls who make it popular are put to bed. The solution is National Baseball Day.

Americans love sports. And we love holidays. How is it that no holiday — one where schools and government offices close — has been created to honor recreation, the nurturing of our bodies that today especially should be among our highest priorities? Furthermore, how is it that American workers haven’t found an excuse to break from the office between Labor Day and Thanksgiving? National Baseball Day is the answer.

The new holiday would fall on a Wednesday, coinciding with Game 1 of the World Series. Government offices closed, schools closed. The New York Stock Exchange, especially, could use another day off. The baseball game would begin at 3:00 Eastern, allowing every child from Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, to watch every last pitch before bedtime if he or she so chooses.

And choice is an important part of National Baseball Day. There are Americans who’d rather schedule a colonoscopy than endure nine innings of baseball. For this holiday, instead of a doctor’s appointment, schedule a picnic at a nearby park with your family, or a visit to a museum (if open) that you’ve been meaning to make. Go see a movie you otherwise wouldn’t, or start a book — that thick one — you’ve been meaning to read. However you choose to invest the leisure time, just remember it was baseball that got you there.

click to enlarge baseball.jpg

It will be a challenge to make National Baseball Day a reality, and television decision-makers will do all they can to prevent the holiday from happening. Television networks worship at the altar of prime-time ad revenue. But the allegiance can be blind. Consider the expanded demographic a national telecast — on a holiday, remember — would reach. Think there might not be a few advertisers who would reconsider a World Series spot if they knew entire families would be watching? (Have you seen any Super Bowl commercials?) The game would be talked about at least the next two days at work, and those sponsored messages would be part of the discussion.

I’ve already written Congress on this matter. Do the same, if the concept strikes your fancy. The aim is a good one: to see the final out of a World Series game live with my children. Let them eat their cereal with memories instead of notes.

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