JOHNSON: Baseball opener in Japan not for me

Published 11:42 pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Major League Baseball season has begun … YAWN.

While baseball will always be my favorite sport, MLB dropped the ball on this one.

Some of you might have missed the Seattle Mariners 3-1 season-opening victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday and for good reason. It was played in Tokyo, Japan at the primetime hour of 4a.m. Central Standard Time.

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Arguably, the two worst markets in baseball squaring off in a different country at a ridiculous time to open America’s season. I’m sure there’s a hastag for this, maybe #smh (or “shake my head” for those not in tune with the Twitter-verse).

Major League Baseball is losing the marketing battle with the NFL and even college football. The powers that be are so worried about expanding their brand overseas that they are losing fans at home.

Normally, I could care less about the A’s and the Mariners but if this game to kick off the season was on at a watchable hour, I would certainly watch.

Even college basketball has a more exciting start its season with the 24-hour hoops marathon.

Opening Day used to be great – first week of April, day games, night games, all day baseball. Sure MLB still tries to capture the magic of opening day but it’s just not the same. Two teams have already played a series in another country.

Early this morning, probably before this newspaper even hits your driveway, the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners will be in the middle of game two of the 2012 regular season. Doesn’t that get you excited?

I remember my first (and only) Opening Day game, though it wasn’t that long ago.

It was in Atlanta as the Braves were hosting the Chicago Cubs and the atmosphere was like no other baseball game I’ve ever attended.

I watched Jason Hayward hit his first career home run in his first career at-bat. However, I did boo because I enjoy the self-torture of being a Cubs fan. But, it was great being there, nonetheless.

Baseball season opening at 4a.m. halfway across the globe just isn’t entertaining. I am anxious for the start of the season… or should I say start of everyone else’s season. Baseball beginning this way reminds me of the line in The Sandlot when the boys are in the tree house cooking s’mores when Ham Porter asks Scotty Smalls “Hey, you want a s’more?”

Smalls replies, “I haven’t had anything yet… so how can I have some more of nothing?”

Baseball has started but it hasn’t, really. How can I be ready for more baseball when I, in actuality, haven’t had any yet?

Opening Day is still special but I do get the feeling that Major League Baseball is numbing the excitement surrounding, in my opinion, the most stirring event in sports.

Bring on the real start to baseball season – bring on Opening Day.