There is a proposal before the body politic to declare a 12th national holiday: Baseball’s Opening Day!
Finally, a cause to unite all Americans. Or not. I suppose we could also make Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday, to keep the balance of American sports, and since federal workers usually don’t have to work on Sundays anyway, it wouldn’t cost anything. Or, if 12 is too many federal holidays–that’s over two weeks of paid vacations–we could move a bunch of the existing ones to Sundays, since that once-sacred day is no longer generally set apart anymore.
So what about Opening Day being a national holiday? Why should our holidays be all about the government, political leaders, unions, and war? Why not a sports day?
The following question came before the American body politic Tuesday: Should Congress designate baseball’s opening day as a federal holiday?
To which fans responded: You mean it’s not?
The first day of the baseball season is already a day of mass miracles, when hundreds of thousands of invalids who call in sick at 8:30 a.m. are healed in time to be at the ballpark by the first pitch at 1:05 p.m. Maybe it should be a religious holiday.
But the forces behind the proposal have picked the civic route, hoping lawmakers will declare opening day the 12th official federal holiday, meaning civil servants don’t have to work, letter carriers don’t bring the mail and the rest of country can buy mattresses for up to 60 percent off.
Like many great ideas, the movement to create Opening Day Day seems to have been hatched over a beer. Or rather, a beer company. Budweiser — which is now owned by a corporation in Belgium, where they play soccer, not baseball — launched a petition drive and advertising campaign using Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith as a pitchman.
Along with Major League Baseball, the company debuted ads on ESPN.com and MLB.com. It is seeking 100,000 citizens 21 and older to sign a petition on WhiteHouse.gov within 30 days. By Tuesday, more than 14,000 had registered their approval. The petition says, in part: “Opening Day is more than just the beginning of the season. It’s a symbol of rebirth. . . . It’s an American tradition, and it deserves to be recognized as an American holiday.”