What has become of Major League Baseball’s season opener?

Published 9:57 am Wednesday, March 31, 2004

By Staff
Thank goodness I do a lot of channel surfing.
Please, don't tell my wife, she hates that.
But she wasn't home late Tuesday afternoon and I was in full surf mode when I ran across the New York Yankees playing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 2004 season opener.
What season opener?
Why didn't I know about this?
Perhaps it was because it was being played in Japan. Maybe it was because the game was actually played at 5 a.m. our time and this was a tape replay.
Or perhaps it was because the Yankees and Devil Rays will now play two more exhibition games before resuming their series.
I remember as a child how big opening day was. I can remember being envious of those kids who got to take the day off of school and attend the season opener.
Has baseball totally lost its mind? They took a time honored tradition and ruined it.
I really felt at the end of last season with the great success of the playoffs that baseball might be making a rebound. Then it goes and does something like this.
Baseball has most certainly lost it way. It no longer is "America's Pastime."
Baseball used to be the main subject at the water cooler every morning beginning in late February when the teams reported to spring training until the season concluded in October. But that is no longer the case in most work places. It has been replaced by NASCAR, basketball or football.
Bud Selig, who in my estimation is the worst commissioner baseball has ever had, was given a real chance to do something about falling television ratings and sagging attendance figures.
So what did Bud do? He scheduled the season opener in a foreign country to begin before most people even get up for work.
Baseball is doomed as far as I am concerned. Staunch fans have turned away from the game thanks to increasing salaries and players who seem to want to distance themselves from their fans.
Baseball has forgotten what made it so great.
I still recall going to the old Cleveland Stadium and watching batting practice and getting autographs before the game from some of the top players.
That's right, players used to take the time to actually meet their fans and sign autographs. Now the league has been tarnished by questions of steriod use and false records.
If Selig really wants to put baseball back on the map, he must force the league to clean up the allegations and get back to being fan friendly.
Scott Novak is sports editor of the Dowagiac Daily News. Email him at scott.novak@leaderpub.com