Baseball’s “Opening Day” Is A Bizarre And Chaotic Mess

The A’s and Mariners played a regular-season game this morning. In Japan. At 3:10 a.m. PST. Why?

Toru Hanai / Reuters

For the fourth time, Major League Baseball has majestically fucked up opening day. Every few years (since 2000), the MLB has bifurcated one of their season’s finest moments and tucked a tiny, important little sliver of it away in Japan, a nation that, last I checked, is really, really far away from the United States. So far, in fact, that this year’s opening game, featuring the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics, started this morning at 3:10 a.m. in the Pacific Standard time zone, where — as I’m sure the MLB is aware — Seattle and Oakland are located.

That’s right: 3:10 a.m. on a Wednesday.

If you’re a Mariners or A’s fan (or in years past a Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Mets, or Cubs fan) you’re deprived of an Opening Day. You don’t have a first game. Baseball is back, but not really. Check in next week.

Bud Selig and company look around, and they see an NBA that is growing in international popularity and an NFL that seems untouchable stateside. So, in a misguided attempt to close these gaps, and instead of making concessions where the fans actually want them — putting highlights on YouTube, getting rid of five-hour-long games — they continue to intermittently and irregularly kill one of the greatest traditions in baseball in the hopes of better globalizing the game. The worst part about it isn’t even that they could play these games at midseason (coming off the All-Star break) or just play spring training games in Japan. Limping through the door at 3:10 in the morning reminds people of how little the league seems to care about about coming off one of the greatest postseasons in MLB history, about letting fans get properly excited for their teams. Rather than gimmicks, what baseball needs is good-old-fashioned momentum, capitalizing on a product that is arguably as good as it has been in decades, and the MLB can’t even do that.

Anyway, welcome back, Baseball. I guess.

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