Rush Limbaugh once said something so profound that I made it the screen saver on my computer. He said, “Everybody should love baseball.” I do: I believe “play ball” are the last two words of the Star Spangled Banner.
Frankly though, I think the first game of the season should take place in the middle of April in the middle of the day on green grass in Cincinnati. But times change and I can’t keep them from changing. Today, the Oakland A’s and the Boston Red Sox played the first game of the 2008 season in the middle of the night in Tokyo Japan. If I were an Oakland fan who had to get up around 3:00 AM if he wanted to watch the first pitch, I’d be upset about that.
This isn’t the first time American Major League Baseball has held its opening day in Japan. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is trying to make the game more international. Okay, and baseball isn’t the only sport with ticket prices so high average fans think more than twice about going to a game, but by starting at what translates to 3:00 AM in Oakland and 6:00 AM in Boston, baseball is ignoring the people who made it popular to attract new people.
That doesn’t seem like good business to me. If baseball is America’s pastime, schedule the first game of the season at a time when most Americans can watch it.
I’d like to do away with the designated hitter. More strategy without them. I’d like the game’s best pitchers to go more than six innings. I’d like an occasional day game on a Monday or Friday so I could play hooky from work and enjoy both a game and a long weekend. Every team should be required by law to play on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. I’d like fewer seasons tickets sold so I could get a decent seat if I decided to walk up for a game.
When I visit Cooperstown (I’m a subscribing member of the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum,) I would like it if six of the top ten home run hitters of all times weren’t either proven or suspected of steroid abuse. And I wish the games took less time. When I was introduced to baseball, the average game took around two hours. Now, it takes over three. I’m not upset that the double header is practically extinct though. I went to one of those ten years ago. The whole thing took more than eight hours! Each game lasted so long that my butt gave up and I left the second game long before it was over. I caught the end of that game on the radio on the way home.
Speaking of which, every baseball game ought to be on the radio. This morning, for instance, top of the sixth, bases loaded and nobody out. I don’t root for either team. I had to go to the bathroom so I did. When I got back, one out, two on and nobody scored. How did that happen? I could see two out and nobody scored, but was there a pickoff, or what?
Plus, on a warm Spring day, I like to put the game on the radio and wash my car. I find that relaxing. Apparently what I like isn’t really popular today though because there are lots of portable entertainment devices that don’t contain an AM radio. I have a Sony Walkman that has an AM radio and plays MP3 files on CD’s. Ipods don’t come with any radio but some flash memory or hard-drive music players do have FM radios. I’d buy one in a heartbeat if they had an AM radio for the ballgames too.
And I seem to be the only person in the whole world who knows about baseball’s greatest feature. It causes warm weather. They play baseball all winter in the Dominican Republic and it never gets cold there.