Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


April 3, 2014

McNamee: Opening Day, a holiday?

EFFINGHAM — Sports fans have a lot of ideas.

The notion that Major League Baseball’s Opening Day should be a national holiday always resurfaces this time of year. There’s a growing argument that the first day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament should be, too, along with the age old Super Bowl holiday.

Generally, people recognize Opening Day and the Super Bowl as unaccredited national holidays because they, like me, capitalize them in sentences. There’s a greater power that can settle this dispute:

The iPhone.

An iPhone automatically capitalizes “Bowl” when it immediately follows the word “Super” in any part of a sentence, recognizing that the Super Bowl is a proper, important noun – like all of the other holidays.

It doesn’t capitalize Opening Day like I do, but I’m not a cell phone. The iPhone may not think it’s important, but the first full day of baseball carries a lot of weight with a lot of people. For some, it means the first day of spring, which means it’s time to go outside.

I’ve always enjoyed this day (Monday, this year). I texted friends and family to wish them a happy Opening Day. I watched the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates play because it was the first game on television and the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t start until 3 p.m. I wore a green Cardinals T-shirt. The Teutopolis vs. Windsor/Stew-Stras baseball game I covered felt more important.

But I’ve never acknowledged the day after Opening Day until this year. The day after, when 90 percent of the league takes an awkward break after so much build up the day before.

Maybe I’ve never wondered why so many teams have a day off because I only got my college degree in May, thus I wasn’t smart enough to ponder before then.

Thankfully, Google knows everything.

Tony Paul, of The Detroit News, answered readers’ questions post-Opening Day and one smartypants named Todd Phillips asked the question: “Why is it standard to have a day off after Opening Day?”

Good question, Todd.

Paul says it’s all about a back-up plan for bad weather, at least in Detroit. He says the Tigers schedule a day off to protect the fans from getting rained out of expensive Opening Day tickets. The Tigers’ first game against Kansas City on Monday would’ve been moved to Tuesday if it rained or even snowed. The fans would get those tickets.

Teams played games in Texas, Arizona, Florida, California and Wisconsin (indoor stadium) on Tuesday.

I’d rather have teams play back-to-back, though. Instead, baseball leaves you with the empty feeling you get when you go on a date, think it went really well, but she (yes, she) doesn’t call you.

Baseball calls you back on Wednesday.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or alex.mcnamee@effinghamdailynews.com.


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