AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Sports

March 13, 2014

EXTRA INNINGS: Ozzie is no wizard when it comes to calendarology

OPINION — HALL OF FAME shortstop Ozzie Smith was without peer during his playing days. He even was known as the "Wizard of Oz."

Born Osborne Earl Smith, he often ran onto the field to start each game’s defensive inning with a flip as he approached his position.

After four years with the Padres, Smith was traded to St. Louis, where during his 15 seasons with the Cards, he also developed a strong bat. A 13-time Gold Glove winner, Ozzie owns major-league shortstop records for assists, double plays, and total chances. He collected 2,460 hits and 580 stolen bases and played in 15 All-Star games.

No wonder he was named on 91.7 percent of Hall of Fame ballots in his first year of eligibility.

However, while he was a Wizard on the field, he is off-base on his recent proposal to alter our holiday calendar.

A couple of weeks ago, Ozzie announced plans to collect 100,000 signatures by March 31 to make opening day of the major-league baseball season a national holiday.

If successful, a minimum of 100,000 signatures from fans 21 or older for the "We the People" petitioning program would require a review by President Obama. The petition garnered about 7,000 signatures the first day.

Fans can sign the petition by visiting WhiteHouse.gov or St. Louis-based business partner Budweiser at www.Budweiser.com/OpeningDay.

"I don’t know exactly what the odds of success are," Smith said, adding, "...I'm sure that we’ll get the 100,000 signatures.

"There are 22 million people who have, at some point in time, played hooky from work or school, so it's already an unofficial holiday," Smith told Jenifer Langosch at MLB.com. "We're just trying to make it an official holiday by getting those 100,000 signatures so I can march them up to the front of the White House."

Smith's campaign plans include an online video series throughout March highlighting the historical significance of Opening Day.

Unlike during his playing days, Ozzie has really flubbed this one.

First off, the whole thing smacks of nothing but free, cheap PR for a beer company. If not, why involve the Anheuser-Busch company after which the baseball stadium in St. Louis is named.

Besides, unlike the Super Bowl which involves just one game, major-league baseball in fact has 30 opening days each season, one for each team playing its first game on its home field.

Then there is another problem created by one of many Bud Selig’s "brilliant" ideas — playing games all over the world to start the season. This year, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks open the regular season in 10 days (March 22) in SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA! Previously, openers have been played four times in Japan and once each in Monterrey, Mexico and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

So is this year’s opener on March 22? Or perhaps it is on Sunday, March 30 when those same Dodgers play the Padres. Or is it on March 31, when 28 teams play 14 games? Or is it only after all 30 teams have played their first home game of the season?

Second, although Budweiser may be the exception, can you sense much support for a day off for workers throughout the country?

Me neither.

In addition, there’s something unique to baseball that its fans often come down with (baseball) fever to attend their team’s first game of the season, usually as a family or circle of friends following a tradition as old as the game itself. It’s almost more about bonding than it is about the game.

Baseball is our national pastime, and no artificial holiday is going to add to its lore any more than not adding a made-up event will detract from it.

However, if this is such a wonderful idea, Selig could solve all of the fuss very easily and at no cost, which ensures that it won’t happen.

Let every baseball team play its first game on a Saturday or Sunday each year—baseball’s Opening Day!

With all the problems facing our nation, making opening day a national holiday surely is not one of them.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • On to baseball GC coach Bell retired — sort of!

    You can take the man out of coaching, but you can’t take coaching out of the man.
    Former Grove City High football coach Jeff Bell has spent his first few months of retirement hearing the ping of a baseball ricocheting off an aluminum bat instead of clap of shoulder pads coming together.
    “My grandson Maddox (Bell) and a few of his friends play on a traveling team, so I’m helping out with that,” said Bell, who retired as the Eagles’ football coach this past winter. “They’re a good group of kids to work with and this is a lot more enjoyable. It’s a lot less stress.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • RANDOM THOUGHTS: Pouncey latest Steeler to make court news

    HERE I THOUGHT, we were going to make it through an offseason without a Pittsburgh Steeler getting in trouble for something stupid.
    Thanks Maurkice Pouncey for allowing that to not happen.
    I just love seeing Steelers players in the police blotter or on the court docket (tongue firmly in cheek).

    July 30, 2014

  • EXTRA INNINGS: Forget trade deadline, focus on signing Martin

    WHILE BASEBALL fans are focused on tomorrow’s 4 p.m. EDT non-waiver trade deadline, there is an issue that is even more pressing for the Pirates: re-signing catcher Russell Martin, eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
    Andrew McCutcheon is the team’s most valuable player, but Martin is the most valuable TO the Pirates. It is no coincidence that the Pirates’ return to the postseason last year occurred in Martin’s first year with the Bucs.

    July 30, 2014

  • NCAA Football: Rock 6-1 after 17-3 win over Cal U

    Slippery Rock University rode a length-of-the-field scoring drive by its offense and a goal-line stand by its No. 1-ranked defense late in the first half of action Saturday to a 17-3 win over 14th-ranked visiting California (Pa.).

    October 19, 2011

  • steez pc.jpg NFL: Steelers top Jags as Mendenhall makes return

    Mike Tomlin isn’t ready to say the Pittsburgh Steelers are back. Not after watching his team sleepwalk through the second half against Jacksonville on Sunday.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • wheldon, dan pc.jpg IndyCar Racing: Crash takes Wheldon’s life

    Every race car driver heads onto the track understanding this race could be the last and hoping it won’t be. On Sunday, IndyCar drivers got a harsh reminder when the worst happened to one of their own.

    October 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • pens pc.jpg NHL: Sabres beat Penguins 3-2

    The Buffalo Sabres have had trouble with the Pittsburgh Penguins whether Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play or not.

    October 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • canadiens logo pc.jpg NHL Quick glance: Montreal at Pittsburgh

    A breakdown of the National Hockey League game Thursday night between the Pittsburgh Penguins and visiting Montreal Canadiens.

    October 19, 2011 4 Photos

  • High School Highlights: Oct. 19, 2011

    A look at the last few days in local high school fall sports action.

    October 19, 2011

  • washington, ron pc.jpg Leading Off: Oct. 19, 2011

    News and notes from the local, regional and national sports scene.

    October 19, 2011 5 Photos

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide