National Baseball Day Redux

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Can’t you just hear a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan in 1958 — a half-century since his team won the World Series — whining? “You know, the Cubs will win the World Series the day a woman is president of the United States.” Here we are. Unless the Cleveland Indians (enduring their own championship drought of 67 years) can upset their Great Lakes rival, the Cubs will win the World Series within two weeks of a woman — presumably — being elected to the highest office in the country. And here’s the kicker: Hillary Clinton is a Cubs fan.

Planets are aligning, and in baseball’s favor. Which makes the time perfect for National Baseball Day. If anyone can get this done, it’s surely the first president since Teddy Roosevelt to enter the White House during a Chicago Cub reign.

The stretch between Labor Day and Thanksgiving — three long months — screams for a national holiday. A real holiday, with schools and businesses (most of them, anyway) closed, a national pause from the daily grind as days shorten and temperatures drop. Not only would National Baseball Day nicely interrupt this drought, but America would also finally have a holiday celebrating what this country does best: spectator sports.

Here’s how it would work. On the day Game 1 of the World Series is played — typically a Tuesday — Americans stay home in honor of this nation’s original pastime. No one plays like Americans. Entire industries are devoted to recreation. Finally, National Baseball Day would allow us to celebrate these healthy instincts.

The game would begin at 3 p.m. Eastern, allowing every child from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, to see every pitch, hit, stolen base, and strikeout if he or she so chooses. Using modern technology, families split across time zones could fire up their computers or smart phones and share in the exploits of the latest World Series hero. Families and friends would have some extra bonding time built around a baseball game. Imagine that.

Not a baseball fan? This holiday is for you, too. No viewing required. Enjoy a picnic with your family (if you live in a warm region). Or catch a movie you haven’t had time to see. Better yet, open that thick book you’ve been meaning to read, but “never have the time.” The idea is to relish a day of leisure, courtesy of baseball.

The TV fat cats will be the hardest to budge. (The last daytime World Series game was played in 1987, and it was indoors, under the roof of the abominable Metrodome.) Fox will cash in this week (particularly with the Cubs in the mix), commercial rates estimated at half a million dollars.

Why mess with such a golden goose? Well, why not consider the possibilities — revenue-wise — if a Series game is broadcast as the centerpiece of a national holiday? With entire families viewing, not simply that 25-45 male demographic considered most attractive. Seems the Super Bowl broadcast has found its way to profitability, with kickoff in the late afternoon on a Sunday. Why must World Series games end after midnight in New York City?

Cubs fans — and Indians fans — understand patience better than most. We’ve waited long enough for National Baseball Day.

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