Foul ball: MLB schedules opening day for Good Friday — UPDATED

A reader alerted me to this and called it “the most stupid marketing decision by anyone!”

Details:

Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds will move to Friday in 2012, with an April 6 game against the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park.

Major League Baseball released the Reds’ 2012 schedule today. Click here to download a PDF.

For years, Opening Day for the Reds was held on a Monday. The 2011 season was the first year the season opened with the traditional Opening Day parade on a Thursday.

“The Reds already are working with the Findlay Market Parade organizers on Opening Day 2012,” said Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini. “No fans look forward to the start of baseball season more than ours.”

Think any of the fans are Catholic, Mr. Castellini?  Think this will make much of a difference to them?

Just wondering.

UPDATE: A reader left the following story in the combox:

City councilman Wendell Young says the decision by MLB to schedule Opening Day on Good Friday is a “slap in the face.” He says he is incensed and it’s clear that no one in New York looked at a calendar or bothered to consult the Reds before scheduling Opening Day for April 6th.

Young helped make Opening Day an unofficial holiday for the city after efforts to have people vote on the measure failed. Young says he doubts anything can be done at the local level to change the date, but hopes MLB will reconsider.

Original story:

Vendors at Findlay Market are already saying there will not be a parade. They are upset that they were not consulted by Major League Baseball on the decision to start the Reds season on Friday April 6th. That is Good Friday and one of the busiest days at the market all year not to mention one of the most solemn days in heavily Catholic Cincinnati.

The decision was not made by the Reds who have not commented yet on having the home opener on Good Friday. When the Reds were ordered by baseball several years ago to open up on Easter night then owner Marge Schott told fans to treat it like an exhibition and the game drew the smallest crowd at Riverfront Stadium in Opening Day history.

  • http://www.twitter.com M. Swaim

    A shame indeed, since as a Cincinnatian, this is how I prefer to spend my Good Fridays:

    http://2011.hciparish.org/?page_id=147

  • Howard

    Well, you have to understand, of course, that this isn’t a REALLY important day, like “Patriot Day”.

    At least not to those who worship a certain god.

  • Claudia

    To those of us who serve the living God, it is very important. Much more important than baseball.

  • Kenny R

    Follow Sandy Koufax’s example and refuse to buy tickets for that day.

  • Megan A.

    The Reds, like all MLB teams, are not responsible for setting their schedule (they can only set the game times on weekdays.) The schedule of games is created by the Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner. Don’t blame Castellini for this.

  • Meggan C.

    My sister sent me another link to WLW website that talks more about this issue:

    http://www.700wlw.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=119585&article=9109128

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    We will see more and more of this trashing of Christian sensibilities. Why? Because most of the people who will be in the ball park will be people who describe themselves as Christian–and that will justify what the ball club is doing in the eyes of the team’s owners and the mass media. And those who aren’t just nominal Christians won’t take any REAL action to protest what is happening and make it impossible for the game to go on (like all those who are really Christian and who staff the park as players or ushers or concession workers all calling in sick.)
    How many pieces have we seen in the media about how many players are deeply religious. Well, there comes a time to really prove it.
    Some public school systems in our area tried to open on Good Friday, but couldn’t find enough regular teachers or substitutes to keep the schools open.
    If we were a Moslem country they wouldn’t dare trash such a day. No wonder Moslems think our religion is weak (and is why some convert to Islam). We weakly stick up for it when we are steamrolled and major league baseball knows it and is counting on it.

  • Joe Cleary

    Wasn’t this an issue for the Yankees a few years ago and they moved the game to a night game after complaints?

    The right answer for the Reds would be to move the game to Thursday afternoon – since they have a long tradition as the oldest operating team of opening day baseball. Tend to doubt MLB will let them.

  • Irish Spectre

    …reminds me of those years that the Masters golf tourney plays on Good Fri., not to mention the days immediately before and after, too, right through Easter. …always hated that.

  • Greta

    Joe, you cannot simply move a game on your own. You have to have league approval and since the league office set this up, they would have to admit their error. Everyone needs to write the office of major league baseball and let them know that this has to be changed. There is already a strong effort going on here in Cincinnati, but we need help from around the country.

    And as with Swaim above, I will be praying the steps as i have for 68 years and hope to be at Red’s opening day as i have for 60 years on a Thursday.

    Deacon, your post seems to be an attack on the Reds and Castellini who is proving to be a great owner for the Reds as well as being a solid Catholic. You can bet he is not happy, but I would imagine has to watch what he says.

    I note that MLB offices also refused to allow teams to wear the NYPD FD hats on 9/11 because it interfered with their merchandise contracts. when a player had it on in the dugout (I think one of the mets), a representative from MLB went into the dugout and took it away when it showed up on TV. Of course we also have the long standing issue with MLB and the lifetime ban on Pete Rose and even worse on his being allowed into the HOF for his playing career. With all the idiotic scandals and drugs, seems like Pete has paid a hell of a price for a gambling addiction problem.

  • Matt Rispoli

    The Cleveland Indian’s opening day has been on a Friday for years and almost always falls at least during Lent and sometimes on Good Friday. There are 800,000 catholics in the Cleveland Diocese which is why I think Progressive Field resorted to offering “Catholic Friendly” food at the stadium. I think they even have like tofu hotdogs or something.

  • Barbara Golder

    Awful, I admit, but is it worse than the parents/kids who miss mass, or CCD, or confirmation retreat, or Stations of the Cross….because of football/baseball/ballet/piano/violin/theater rehearsal….? Are Catholics in the pew holding themselves and each other to a “Church comes first” standard?

  • E. Sammons

    Wow, this really stinks.

    We are diehard Reds fans, and every year the kids take off school on Opening Day (they are homeschooled, but still…) to watch the game. I guess next year will be a good teaching lesson to them as to what is most important in this life.

  • FDH

    Bob Castellini, owner of the Reds, is a practicing Catholic who has given back to the Church considerably in Cincinnati. He hosted a fundraiser for the seminary before a Reds game this year and donated a whole section of tickets so the seminary could welcome young supporters.

    He can’t be happy with this. Hopefully MLB can intervene… though moving things to Holy Thursday is also less than ideal. I guess the game and festivities before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is possible… just so long as priorities are maintained.

  • Roger Conley

    You know if Father Pavone would simply address important matters like this, and stop worrying about the babies killed in abortion, he wouldn’t bother anybody.

  • daisy

    It’s not much of a issue. The serious Catholics will be either at church or at home. The rest will be at the game or watching it at home just like every other Good Friday.

  • naturgesetz

    Kenny R makes a good point: nobody has to buy a ticket (except season ticket holders, but they don’t have to show up).

    The real problem is that too many people just don’t care. That is why this will not be a real problem for the Reds at the box office or for MLB.

    We don’t bring people to truly respect Good Friday by forcing them to refrain from what they intend to do. But when Christian churches form our own people to respect Good Friday, then they will refrain from inappropriate activity without being forced to.

    Of course, every other entertainment medium (theaters, movies, TV, etc.) carries on as usual on Good Friday.

    Also, as has been pointed out, Sunday Mass is far more important.

  • Kelso

    If Jack McKeon is still managing the Marlins I’ll bet he has something to say. He is a very devout daily Communicant.

  • Amy

    The opening day of Denver’s brand new ball park was on Good Friday, in 1993. Our Archbishop (now Cardinal Stafford) made a statement that faithful Catholics ought not attend. One of our church’s deacons – a diehard fan from Buffalo NY – went anyway, and then had the preposterous temerity to actually preach about it on a following Sunday. Surely it wasn’t on Easter, but maybe it was.

    That was the proverbial straw. We left that parish for another.

    When my husband worked for Rocky Flats (Nuclear Weapons Plant) they had always had Good Friday off. He believed it was a big reason the plant was as safe as it generally was, i.e. it could have been much much worse!

  • Howard

    To me it feels like there is a difference between football games played on Christmas Day (and of course regularly on Sundays) and this. Maybe it is because a ball game is supposed to be festive, so that it is (at its best, of course) consistent with a mood of celebration. That, of course, is debatable. A ball game is, however, certainly NOT consistent with a day of penance and fasting. Maybe that’s why this feels so wrong, but football games on Christmas Day are rarely questioned.

  • TeaPot562

    In my local parish church, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is attended by about one-fifth of the people who attend our six weekend masses. Good Friday services (one in the afternoon, one at 7 p.m.) are attended by a few more. Conclusion: Most of the Sunday regular mass attendees go to neither Holy Thursday nor Good Friday services.
    Probably major league baseball would not notice any difference in attendance if those who customarily go to Holy Week services stay away from the ball park.
    TeaPot562

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Just a follow-up. I grew up in the 1950′s. And I can still remember how traffic died down and people even talked in hushed tone between noon and 3–and this was not in a Catholic “ghetto” neighborhood.
    But step by step the secular world and the love for money ( Big chain stores are now opening on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter around here. And Sunday is fast becoming a joke as the Lord’s Day.
    My son was punished by a referee for showing up a few minutes late for a soccer tournament game on a Sunday morning because he had been at Mass. Parents had objected to playing games on Sunday morning but got nowhere.One team refused to play Sunday morning and was tossed from the tournament. (Originally there was not supposed to be any Sunday morning games, but that was changed at the last minute because the (paid) referees had other jobs they wanted to go to in the afternoon.
    This is how Communist countries tried to break Christianity–by scheduling all youth activities during times church services were usually held. Odd, Russia is today now more respectful of religious sensibilities than our increasingly secular culture.

  • Richard Johnson

    Boycott and protest away, and best of luck to you. But be prepared. By doing so you are surrendering whatever argument you have against Muslims who try to pressure communities to accommodate their religious observances.

    After all, if you want institutions to respect Christian holy days such as Easter, what is there to stop them from also respecting Eid, Samhain, or Bodhi Day?

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