McCollough: Opening Day should be recognized as national holiday

Published 10:25 pm Thursday, March 27, 2014

I will never forget the trip to my first, and thus far only, Opening Day.

It was a beautiful spring day in early April and I watched my beloved Atlanta Braves defeat the Colorado Rockies 2-0 at Turner Field.

The Mad Dog, Greg Maddux, threw a gem that day. He gave up just five hits over seven innings of work. I saw Andres Galarraga and Andruw Jones go yard on back-to-back at bats in the seventh to give the Bravos their only runs of the game.

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Mike Remlinger picked up the save and I left smiling ear-to-ear.

That was April 3, 2000. Almost 14 years ago. I was just 10 years old, but I remember it in vivid detail, and it will last forever.

Baseball is regarded as America’s Favorite Pastime for a reason: it is truly American.

The USA is a melting pot for cultures around the world, and we base a lot of our customs on others from far away lands. But baseball is like bluegrass, whiskey, and hot dogs. It is ours. We invented it and it oozes Americana.

I believe every child growing up in these great United States should have the same opportunity I did. I was allowed to see my heroes play baseball, and celebrate living in the best country in the world.

While baseball may not be the most popular sport in America these days, it still holds a special place in everyone’s life.

Stories of legends of yesteryear, such as Babe Ruth calling his shot, Lou Gehrig’s famous speech, Cal Ripken playing every game for 14 straight seasons and Joe DiMaggio hitting safely in 56 consecutive games, are part of not just sports lore, but modern American history.

Letting kids out of school for one day wouldn’t stunt their educational careers. Yes, learning about obtuse and acute triangles may have to be bumped to the next day, but America’s youth would be able to immerse themselves in something that is truly beautiful, truly breathtaking.

Baseball is something that is truly American.