Despite the threat of rain tonight in Chicago where the St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to play the Cubs, I'm glad to be through the ridiculous time out in which Major League Baseball places its fans after opening day.
I get that the idea is to prevent people who purchased opening day tickets from missing the pomp and circumstance should the home opener get rained out. But might I suggest that many of us who take a day off to go to the opening ballgame as part of an unofficial holiday can't just go ahead and take a second day off at the last minute?
The result is a poor solution to a POSSIBLE problem which GUARANTEES an awkward situation.
All that's certain because of taking a day off after the opener is that fans will have the rug of enthusiasm pulled out from beneath their feet. It's like going to a party where everyone jumps out from behind the furniture to yell "surprise" -- and then the host tells guests to go home for a couple of hours before returning to have cake and punch. It's difficult to maintain a high level of excitement in that sort of halting atmosphere.
A better suggestion, one that would appeal to Major League Baseball owners as well as fans because it would put management deeper into customers' pockets, would be to celebrate the opening SERIES as opposed to just one game. Have festivities and appearances by Hall of Famers and local baseball heroes that could make the second and third games of the season more appealing to fans. Then, the significance of Game 1 compared to Game 2 is lessened. So skip the day off.
That's good for ownership because, as things are, people fill ballparks for opening day, then they stay home in droves from Tuesday and Wednesday night games when the low temperature is in the 40s across the Midwest and kids have to go to bed early because they are still in school.
So make opening day a Friday night game then have games two and three be "opening weekend."
Owners will make even more money because a lot more folks will show up for Saturday and Sunday matinees with average high temperatures in the upper 60s. And, most importantly, I won't have to watch re-runs on the second day of the season when there is baseball to be played.