Something just isn’t right when the very first game of the 2008 baseball season, the same game that, for the longest time (and still in my mind) is America’s pastime, is opened in a country clear on the other side of the world.
I know this isn’t the first time that the baseball season has opened up in Japan. It’s been going on for the past several years.
With the popularity of baseball in Japan, and Japanese baseball players beginning to catch the eye of MLB scouts and becoming more prevalent on major league teams, it really is a good idea to have some games played there.
It provides for an opportunity to display the players' talents, while hopefully drawing more Japanese players to play in the majors and more fans to the game.
So, my argument is not so much against the fact games are being played there, it’s the fact that it's the opening game of the 2008 season, and it’s not being played here in the U.S.
Now, you could get up at 6 a.m. Eastern time and watch it, but it’s still not the same as letting the anticipation build throughout the day and maybe taking the afternoon to watch, listen, or even attend the game.
It’s the fact that, unless you’re very dedicated to your team and so rich that you’re able to spend the money to fly over to Japan, you won’t even get the opportunity to dream about stealing away a couple of days to catch the first game, wherever it happens to be played.
Furthermore, it’s the defending World Champions that are opening up the season overseas, and they’re not even the home team.
Forget that Red Sox fans are probably, in my opinion, the most dedicated in the game, it just doesn’t seem right to have the defending champs open their season in any stadium other than their own.
Their fans deserve the right to be the first to see their team play at home before playing anywhere else. I’ll even settle for letting the first game of the MLB season played elsewhere, but make it between teams that weren’t in the World Series the previous year.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome that baseball is willing to play exhibition games in other countries like the games L.A. Dodgers and San Diego Padres played in Beijing about a week ago.
It’s essentially an acknowledgment from baseball that it recognizes it’s not just a one country or region sport anymore. Its players are starting to come from all over the world now.
However, just don’t let Opening Day be played somewhere other than the USA.