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AN Classic: National Pastime Day

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[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an idea I floated last season right around opening day. In lieu of the recent Congressional hearings, it seems a little more far-fetched, but maybe we need it now more than ever, for both the fans, but also for the players. To remind the players what a glorious tradition baseball is, and when the game was pure. Either way, enjoy. I've updated the links for those sites that have moved around. - Blez

A couple of years ago, my buddy who helped me create this blog, or my Blogfather, told me that we should start a movement towards making Opening Day in Major League Baseball a national holiday. That was long before Athletics Nation was ever a glimmer in my eye. But now that this blog is here, I want to use its minor scope to help build some momentum for this magnificent idea.

With the power of the baseball blogosphere, I believe we could push this idea to the top. I ain't talking about Bud Selig, either. I'm speaking of the highest office in the land. Really. The guy running the country right now has a profound affinity for baseball and I'm sure we could come up with something called, "National Pastime Day" or "Baseball Day" or something similar that he could feasibly sell to the American public (come on, even non-baseball fans would be up for a day off in April). And we need to start pushing this concept before November because who knows if our baseball-commissioner wannabe president will still be in office or not. Then again, if a lot of the baseball magazines are right, the Senator from Massachusetts might be an easy sell since his Red Sox seem to be a favorite.

The truth is if we can get blogs like Dodger Thoughts, Aaron Gleeman, Bronx Banter and Cub Reporter on board, then it could quickly gain momentum. If my Blogfather has taught me anything, it's that the blogosphere has more power than any of us realize.

The crucial and most powerful fact about baseball's Opening Day is that many, many people coincidentally develop the "Nine-Inning flu." Let's face the brutal truth, Major League Baseball did a promotion encouraging this behavior last season. Why not make it legit?

Witness from the MLB story about the promotion:

A recent American Demographic magazine study showed that more than 40 percent of college grads say they lied the previous year about being too sick to work, and we can presume that a fair number of them were out at the old ball game.

Now, this may not matter to those that can easily take this day off, but some people's 9-5 jobs don't give them the option to get out to the park on opening day. I will not be able to attend the A's Opening Day due to a prior work commitment (my first missed opening day in several years).

The question would arise, well, all the teams don't start on the same day, how are we going to decide what day is "National Pastime Day?" It's simple, MLB would just need to schedule all the teams to play on the same day (the goal would be to get this to start in April 2005). Could you imagine the scope and the positive publicity for the league reeling from steroid accusations and the negative press surrounding the monstrous, monopolistic New York Yankees?

I know the other argument would be from people who've been playing hooky at work for years to attend Opening Day at Fenway or Wrigley or any number of stadiums across the land. But the truth is that everyone should be able to have this luxury. We're talking about the sport, the quintessential American sport, regardless of what the pigskin boys will have you think. I've heard many football fans cry that the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday, but for goodness sake people, the game is on a Sunday. In reality, how solid a case can someone make for a holiday intended to help the red-blooded American male get over his Budweiser hangover?

I could hear President Bush trying to sell this to the American public now. "My fellow Americans, a new threat is facing our very freedom. It's a brutal enemy that strikes while we sleep and is there when we awaken. It has no mercy and no sympathy for us. It's the Super Bowl hangover. And believe me, we've all been there before. Lord, where was Chasers when I was younger? Any way, the American public can fight back by celebrating 'Day After Super Bowl Day.'"

OK, not a very compelling case.

Now imagine this:

"My fellow Americans, there has been one steady, relentlessly binding fabric to our nation. One element that has held us strong and brought us joy through good times and bad. It unites us in our differences and brings us together. Its wondrous history gave rise to the majesty of Ruth, the tragic yet heart-wrenching words of Gehrig and the still amazing resiliency of Mr. Jackie Robinson. One day a year I propose that we stop and reflect on all the moments of baseball history that have brought father and son, mother and daughter and generations together. This is a day when I encourage parents to go out in their yard or local park and throw the ball around and remember the glory and joy that is our National Pastime. I give you, National Pastime Day."

Now that, my friends, is a political speech I can get behind.

Just join me. Tell the blogs you frequent that this is important. It's something that was born a simple idea but grew into a grand plan.

It's something that I believe in with all that I am.

Yeah, National Pastime Day. How beautiful is that.