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Forget "Who." WHY's this on first? - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
Forget "Who." WHY's this on first?
Wabbit season! Duck season!  All the more important, BASEBALL SEASON!

When I was a kid, the first pitch of Opening Day was a near-religious experience.  Months had passed (five full ones, most years, when you grow up a Mets fan) since the end of the previous season. Those years had no internet, no cable, and painfully long weeks passing from the mid-February astronomical barrier of Pitchers And Catchers Reporting until the first (and often only) spring training broadcast on Channel 9 of a Mets exhibition game- usually against the Cardinals at the St. Petersburg stadium they then shared.  Baseball cards first appeared around the same mid-March time- the first sights of our old heroes with their new reinforcements and the promise of another World Championship like the one from 1969. (It's only happened once since, and 10,000-plus days have passed since that last one.)

Opening Day was a national and local thing. Nationally, it was a day or so earlier, always in Cincinnati, the "Original One" of the MLB franchises, followed, a day or so later, in half of the rest of the leagues' cities. The Mets have pwned Opening Day for decades, going something like 28-12 over the past 40 years; the days after Opening, not so much.  But at least they were a shared experience: local fans returning "home" to Shea, farawayer ones watching on Superstation WWOR with Bob and Ralph always there, Lindsey at the start, Steve and Tim and Gary and Gary eventually joining in, as the last day of March or the first day or so of April meant something.

Yet, just as Cincinnati lost its precedence over the other opening games (can't give that honor to such a minor tv market, yo), the rest of the shared experiences have left us, as well.  For Baseball Season, officially, began at 4:30 this morning, as the Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks in a This Time It Counts contest played in Australia.  Their second game Down Under will be played tomorrow, yet will somehow be broadcast back here in about half an hour from now today; never did get the hang of that damned Date Line.

Then, both of those teams will return to playing exhibitions against the other 28 teams, until a week from Sunday- when ESPN will debut their Sunday Night Baseball domestic 2014 season with, again, the Dodgers, this time playing their neighbors in San Diego, a day before the Mets and the rest of the leagues get back to business.

This is wrong.

I'm all for expansion of the sport into other nations and markets; it's silly that we contest a "World Series" where 29 of the 30 teams are from one country of the "World." But jump-starting the season in the middle of the night and a week in advance, just in the name of international expansion? No.  If they'd played the debut game an exact week later, even with the 4:30 a.m. starting time to accommodate the Oz-zy sensibilities? I'd have been fine with it. But putting those two contestants back into a swamp of pre-season confusion in the coming week before things really start for the rest of us a week from Monday? Nuh uh.

Oddly enough, the Mets themselves are venturing into international waters between now and Opening Day; they're scheduled to play two straight end-of-pre-season games against Toronto in Montreal's long-dormant Olympic Stadium next Friday and Saturday. If certain chips fall a certain way, I may even make the Saturday game among them. But that's solely for the entertainment of our audience. Giving the Dodgers either a two-game edge on the rest of the sport, or subjecting them to some wicked jet lag, is not with the express written consent of this blogger and should BE prohibited.

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