Posted at 4:26 PM on September 12, 2005
by Ben Tesch
Major League Baseball recently announced that it was looking for places to play baseball in Europe and Australia. In previous years, the league has played openers in Japan, Puerto Rico and Mexico, as well as other mid-season and/or exhibition games in those same places.
Now I don't consider myself to be a purist in any sense, but the football season was actually the thing that got me thinking about this. For some odd/dumb reason, they start the football season on a Thursday! A Thursday! Not a Sunday that everyone knows and loves. It seems like a bad idea to me, because then you miss out on that intense release of waiting all year long, and then seeing it all explode on one pure great day of every team playing all at once.
Baseball has been doing the same thing in recent years. Now, "opening day" happens at 3am in another country, and then when baseball really starts (aka when you can see it in your hometown), it just an afterthought, like "Duh, baseball already started a week ago, so let's just move along with the season."
I actually don't mind playing in other countries, but it seems just as fine to do it in the middle of the season. I don't see the benefit of having the first game in another country, when you'd probably get just as great a turnout at any other time. Baseball would make just as much money and get just as much goodwill and PR. I don't get it.
I decree that all sports openers should be played as usual games at the usual times on the usual days. The year-long wait is enough excitement... there's no need to spice it up. Does this international travel thing bug anyone else?