As Hall of Famer Rogers Horsnby once said, “People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
Millions of baseball fans feel the same way. Opening Day marks the beginning of a new life for fans, and it is a very special day. It is not, however, an official holiday. I am here to tell you that it should be.
There’s the World Series, and there’s the All-Star Game. There are lots of important days in the MLB season. None though, are more important — or as exciting to every fan of every team — than Opening Day.
To the millions of baseball fans in the United States alone, Opening Day marks the beginning of their new life for six months. After a long, cold winter, spring and baseball are finally here!
People will argue that Opening Day shouldn’t be a holiday because it’s only important to baseball fans. Well, is President’s Day only important to presidents, and Labor Day to laborers?
In fact, Opening Day is very important to presidents of the United States. Ever since baseball enthusiast William Howard Taft threw out the first pitch in 1910 at a Washington Senators game, nearly every U.S. president has either thrown out the first pitch or attended an Opening Day game. Baseball is, of course, known as America’s Pastime.
Opening Day is the only day you can see every stadium filled to capacity. According to Ticketcity.com, many stadiums have drastic changes in attendance from Opening Day even to the very next game.
In 2013 in Seattle, attendance on Opening Day was 42,589. The next game, attendance was 10,765. That’s a 74.72% drop, and about 50% less than the Mariners’ season average of 21,747. This shows how much more important Opening Day is to fans compared to the 80 other home games.
A large number of Opening Day games are in the afternoon, which causes fans to miss school or work or leave early. If you add up the ballpark capacities at each of the 14 venues hosting Opening Day this year, you find that approximately 603,807 fans will attend. That’s a lot of people!
For years now, I have left school early in order to get home and watch the Baltimore Orioles—my favorite team—play their opener on television. It’s always a challenge for me to make sure I don’t miss tests or important work, and I know that many fans across the country go through this as well even if they aren’t attending the games in person.
Baseball is America’s Pastime, and it’s time to recognize it as such by making Opening Day a national holiday.