Remember when Opening Day was great … before MLB screwed it up

Several years ago, some friends and I discussed what were some of the greatest days in the sports calendar.

There were a lot of options, many were based on personal preference (as many things are in sports).

New Year’s Day, the first Sunday of the NFL season, the Sunday before Memorial Day (for auto racing), NFL conference championship Sunday, the first day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Topping the list for me was Opening Day. And it wasn’t just for all the baseball. It used to fall on the same Monday as the championship game of the NCAA basketball tournament.

You’d have baseball all day long, and One Shining Moment in the evening. An awesome sports day.

But then Opening Day was pushed back to later in the week, in an effort to start the postseason. OK, fine. Opening Day just of baseball is totally fine with us.

But then, as we’ve seen in other sports, TV has gutted some of the great day in sports.

New Year’s Day is not New Year’s Day anymore, with many of the prime college football bowls games now spread out over the week after New Year’s Day.

The first Sunday of the NFL season is thinned out by the Thursday night opener and the two Monday night games in Week 1.

And now it’s taken it’s toll of Opening Day.

The Mariners and A’s played two games last week in Japan, while most of America was sleeping. I’m sure there are many fans even in Seattle and Oakland who have to be reminded that their teams have already played two regular-season games.

Then there was the Wednesday night opener, which is fine. But then there are only seven games on “Opening Day.” Most teams play either Thursday OR Friday.

I don’t get it. The beauty of baseball is that it’s played every day from April to September. Baseball needs to celebrate that, instead of having an Opening Day schedule that looks like the slate for a get-away day in June.

So if MoreSplashHits were running things, we’d do two things.

Everyone plays on Opening Day, except for the two teams that play on Opening Night.

If you win the World Series, you open the next season AT HOME. MLB will say that the schedule is set long before the World Series champion is decided. But we say you could easily juggle the schedule to make this work.

Take a look at Wednesday’s opener. ESPN has the World Series champion Cardinals playing at the Marlins to showcase the Fish’s new stadium.

Was it the first game of an opening series between the Cards and Marlins? No.

The Marlins played Wednesday night at home, then play an afternoon game on Thursday IN CINCINNATI!?!? The Cardinals have Thursday off, then travel to Milwaukee on Friday.

The next time the Marlins and Cardinals play each other in Miami? June 25.

Last season the Giants asked if their season opener in Los Angeles could be moved to San Francisco. The Dodgers say no.

But if you make it an MLB policy that the World Series champion opens at home, the opponent would have no choice.

Champions earned the right to celebrate at home.


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