The greatest day of the year is upon us, Major League Baseball Opening Day, yet MLB still has work to do to make it the “greatest day” of the year. Thankfully, we avoided the ridiculousness of starting opening day a week-and-a-half earlier in Japan this year only to have those teams return to exhibition play. I think we can all agree that was one of baseball’s poorest decisions.
However, this year is not without flaws and we can start with Sunday’s schedule. MLB took a major step forward by adding a day of games versus just a Sunday night game, but when you look at Sunday’s schedule you might notice a match-up between the Cubs and Angels, however this has nothing to do with Opening Day, it’s an exhibition game. I ask MLB, why?
Why have an exhibition game on Opening Day? It’s ridiculous and confusing, in fact I didn’t even realize that it was exhibition game until Smitty brought it up during our fantasy baseball draft. So, there in lies issue one, but Opening Day has a bigger issue, the 3-day approach that starts on Sunday and ends of Tuesday for half the teams causing millions of us to take time off of work to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. This makes absolutely no sense to me from a fan experience standpoint. Why should one set of fans, like Tiger’s fans this year, have to wait two extra days for their team to start the season on a Tuesday? A Tuesday is such a random day to start the season, since you could argue that Monday is at least coming off of the weekend.
I have a fan friendly solution to this entire Opening Day madness let’s start all games on the weekend! The weekend end start would be a huge revenue generator for teams that don’t consistently sell out, like my beloved White Sox. Sure, most Opening Day games are a sell out or near sell out, but that second game that often takes place on Tuesday or Wednesday is often a ghost town especially with the iffy weather to start the season.
Let’s give teams a chance to sell out a few days in a row over a long weekend rather than one and done. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a Saturday start, but a Friday start like the White Sox have this year for their home opener would go a long way to turning Opening Day into Opening Weekend. It would also jump start the season a few days earlier with the beauty of that being less Spring Training that would make the players and fans happier. It would also help start the postseason a few days earlier.
While the MLB schedule makers may shake their heads at me, and say, “Mr. Verniere it’s not that easy to do.” I say bullshit! We all know the really reason is television dollars. Pay MLB their money.
The whole reason we have so many opening days is to maximize nationally televised games over the first week of baseball. All three of Sunday’s games will be televised nationally between ESPN and ESPN2, as well as a full schedule of games of Monday on both networks. Then on Tuesday the games switch over to MLB Network to keep the cash flow coming.
I understand that baseball is a business, but it’s a business that is funded by fans so lets improve Opening Day for all fans of the game and move it to a full slate of games that start on a weekend. Overall, the fans would be happier and somehow I think a full slate of games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday would generate a lot of revenue on television and at the gate. MLB, I implore you to make this right for 2017, and let’s get ready to play ball!