Fans across Major League Baseball were overjoyed Monday to see their teams back on the field for the first time, playing real games for the first time in the new season.
So why does the league insist on pulling the rug out from under the excitement by scheduling a day off the second day of the season?
It doesn't have anything to do with the health of the players.
The St. Louis Cardinals have only played once since Thursday thanks to a rainout of their exhibition game Friday against Class AAA Memphis. I realize they couldn't have anticipated the cancelation. But even if that last spring training game was played, they still would have been off three out of four days thanks to the scheduled day off today.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
It seems so cruel that we wait five months for the national pastime to return. And then we get just a taste before they shut it down again just because they can.
And it doesn't have anything to do with fans.
Any suggestion that there is a day off so, if opening day is rained out, people who held opening day tickets have another chance to see the FIRST game is overly optimistic and out of touch. Opening day games are almost exclusively held during the day, so most people who attend have to take a day off work. I'm a pretty rabid baseball fan. But if I take off Monday and there is no game, the chances are pretty slim that I am going to burn a second vacation day Tuesday to go to one ballgame.
Even if people were willing to blow a second vacation day, would their boss let them go for a second day with no advance warning?
I believe the real reason there is a day off is because Major League Baseball teams charge a premium for opening day tickets. The Cardinals on Monday had a handful of bleacher tickets available for about $150 on their website. That's nearly 10 times the $18 price season ticket holders pay for the seats! Nobody pays 10 times the average price for tickets to the second game of the season.
If the game isn't played, people are going to ask for a refund and the clubs will miss our a major payday. But if the game is POSTPONED and you can't adjust your schedule, well, that's your problem.
That's why there is an insurance policy built into the schedule.
I'm sure they're not going to change it. But it stinks for fans who were frothing with excitement to have cold water poured on their enthusiasm.