It has been suggested by some that Opening Day be a national holiday, although these are quite likely the same people who also think the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. What this amounts to, then, is a certain percentage of our population that believes the working world should cater its ability to see the flag unfurled in the outfield grass and to sleep one off after a Sunday night party.
Well, I'm not here to advocate governmental interjection into the experience, but I am here to applaud the idea that Opening Day is a special day and perhaps, much like the Super Bowl, ought to be a singular one.
We talk so much about the grind of 162 and the importance of not being swept up in any single moment that it's kind of fun and freeing to have that one day in the schedule that loops all of us -- the casuals, the crazies and even those who are watching their first and last game of the year -- into one united unit, locked-in on the lineup, feeling the pulse and the pageantry and, yes, making way, way too much of the final score.
That's a fun day.
Except, wait a minute. Opening Day isn't one day, nor has it been for a long freaking time!
ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" has become the customary precursor to the more traditional pomp and pageantry of the following afternoon and evening, and, hey, all's fair in love, war and advertising. But this year and last, the Sunday special has been taken to a new, possibly unavoidable extreme with not one, not two, but three ballgames. This year, for the record, it's the Yankees at Rays at 1:10 p.m. ET, Giants at D-backs at 4:10 p.m. and Cubs at Cardinals at 8:35 p.m.
The good Lord himself might have rested on Sunday, but he didn't have a network to run.
Look, I get it. This is a way for baseball to not only take but extend the center stage. And for those of us who swallow this sport not in samples but in buffets, there is some inherent appeal to a three-game slate that allows you to observe more openers than you otherwise would. It's good television, which means it's good business, which means the wishes of some dude with a keyboard and a wistful streak don't exactly apply.
That said, if television didn't matter (hahahaha), wouldn't it be nice if we could put the singular "day" back in Opening Day and just play them all at once?
Opening Day probably changed forever in 1994, when the Reds and Cardinals played the first ESPN Sunday night opener on a cold night at old Riverfront Stadium. It was a controversial contest. They take their openers seriously in Cincinnati, as they should, and the Findlay Market Parade is an experience that really hammers home the importance of inventing an illness to convey to your boss or your kid's principal.
But in '94, there was no parade preceding the ESPN tilt, because the city wouldn't allow a Sunday extravaganza. So Reds owner Marge Schott, as was her nature, created controversy, imploring fans to treat the Sunday game like an exhibition and to celebrate the second game of the season -- on Monday -- like the real opener, because it would, yes, be preceded by parade.
"We'll have 20 more floats than we've ever had before," she told the Associated Press. "The Air Force is coming in. Oh, and we're going to have 300 pigeons, so keep your hat on."
All that was missing was Sean Spicer to tell everybody the parade would be the biggest ever -- period.
Everybody survived that scheduling snafu (even, I believe, the pigeons), but that was the beginning of the end of Cincinnati's tenure atop the Opening Day totem pole. The Reds, as MLB's first officially recognized franchise, still always open at home, as they have every year in the modern era save for 1966 (rain) and 1990 (lockout), but they are no longer the so-called opener of the openers, as they once were.
This is where the syrupy and sentimental side kicks in and offers up the idea of a 15-game Opening Day slate that starts in Cincinnati (let's say noonish) and winds its way around the country. That idea about how "everybody's 0-0" would actually be as correct as it is corny.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "Ah, yes, just the way it used to be and just the way it ought to be!" Except many of you reading this (myself included) are too young to articulate this and actually be accurate.
With the help of Baseball Reference's year-by-year schedule pages, I've come to the surprising realization that the last time every MLB team opened the season on the same day was way, way back in 1972* (for the sake of context, Mike Trout's dad was 11 years old).
*And even here, there's a caveat, because the Orioles and Yankees got rained out that day.
Yes, Opening Day was actually corrupted long before ESPN came around. Since '72, there have been years in which the Reds had the only game on the pre-Opening Day opening day, years in which it was a Reds game and one or two other games and even some really weird ones like 1982, when clubs' first games were held anywhere from Monday to the following Sunday.
So for more than a generation, Opening Day has been different than it is in our dreams. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with spreading the love across a couple dates, but a one-day baseball bonanza is something a lot of us would be, well, "open" to.
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Anthony Castrovince is a Sports on Earth contributor, MLB Network contributor and MLB.com columnist. Follow him on Twitter @Castrovince.