MLB Opening Day: Welcome Back, Baseball

Barry BealCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2008

Baseball is back today.

I know that we had the Braves and Nationals last night and some random games in Japan last week. But baseball is back today and every single day for the next six months.

When we step through the turnstiles, everything will seem right again.

Summer is here, and the worries will seem to slip away. Even if it is for just those couple hours when pulling the starting pitcher becomes the biggest argument of the day.

There aren’t many unifying forces in our nation  like the game of baseball.

Think about the Green Light Letter from President Franklin Roosevelt to Commissioner Landis in January 1942. The U.S. had entered World War II just a month prior, and the President found the game important enough to address it in the dead of winter.

Americans needed recreation. Americans needed baseball.

In the weeks after 9/11, nothing reminded us more of what it was like to be an American than to see the tributes paid on the diamonds.

There was the first game in New York, Jack Buck’s speech in St. Louis, or President Bush’s first pitch at Yankee Stadium in the World Series.

Although there likely will be nothing nearly as dramatic as this, new memories will be formed starting today.

There’s a running sentiment that Opening Day should be made into a national holiday. Everybody should have the day off to go to games and enjoy their families.

But part of baseball’s lure is its mischievousness. It’s the only game that encourages the act of skipping school or work. We hear from the older generations about how all the games were played in the daytime. Kids used to skip school and watch the games for free by climbing trees or sneaking a peek through the knotholes in the fences.

Now, with 95 percent of the games played at night, the opportunities are slim to actually have that “my stomach hurts” excuse work on your parents. Not only will it work today, but you’ll have some company.

Is there another single day on the calendar where a boy or girl wakes up in the morning and doesn’t have to go to school, and then have their parents join them in skipping?

That’s what baseball can do. It can bring families together. They spend Monday at the ballpark enjoying the unofficial beginning of summer, then spend the ride home figuring out which excuse sounds the best to tell their boss or teacher on Tuesday.

Baseball is back today. Unless it rains. Then your stomach can’t hurt until tomorrow. 


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