Opening (holi)day

The 2011 edition of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is in the books and the season is into its first week, but there is still one issue begging to be addressed.

The national pastime is cause for a national holiday.

I don’t understand why this hasn’t already happened, and apparently I’m not alone in my way of thinking. Why should any American child or kid-at-heart have to be stuck inside a classroom or office while a new baseball season begins? It doesn’t make the least bit of sense.

The game hasn’t been designated “America’s pastime” because we prefer to work on an account presentation for a new client or listen to a teacher drone on about the Pythagorean Theorem instead of watching it.

It’s America’s pastime because, sometime between the invention of baseball and today, a lot of Americans figured out they liked to pass the time playing it. Some have more recently decided they enjoy spending afternoons sitting in their living rooms watching their favorite team’s games, pitch by pitch, until they risk growing into their couches.

Opening Day is the perfect occasion to honor such a game, since it is the day when the American baseball fan’s optimism is at its highest level.

On Opening Day, for example, a Chicago Cubs fan is undeniably sure this will finally be the year the team will break the curse of the billy goat and win a title.

Pirates fans’ dreams of finishing somewhere above the cellar are still alive and well, and it is still entirely possible the Braves will whip the Phillies and Mets in the playoffs on their way to an unmerciful, take-no-prisoners title.

The optimism fades during the seemingly-endless long season. Why rob us of a chance to experience its joy at full strength?

I’m pretty sure the account portfolios will still be there when we return to work.

The baseball break will serve America’s children well, too.

When Bobby opens his history book the next day he’ll still learn the Yankees edged out a win in the War Between the States, but he will also know there is still time for them to lose the World Series.

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