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White House petition seeks to make Opening Day a national holiday

Feb 25, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT

baseball grass

Wait, it isn’t? No one I know works that day, so I just assumed  . . .

Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith is heading out on the campaign trail for the next 30 days. His platform? To turn Major League Baseball’s Opening Day into a national holiday.

Smith announced the initiative on Tuesday and has partnered with St. Louis-based company Budweiser to get a petition to the White House before the 2014 season opens in full on Monday, March 31. He will, however, need plenty of support in getting the proposal all the way to the White House.

As long as the good people at Budweiser are cool with us drinking whatever we’d like on that holiday I’m all for it.

Go here to read and sign the petition. 100,000 signatures are required in order for the White House to formally respond. I would hope the response is favorable. I mean, given that Obama dropped a “Caddyshack”/”Dalai Lama” reference in his comments about the passing of Harold Ramis, one has to assume he’d be cool with this.

  1. nelszz - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    how about they play the darn game in the UNITED STATES and not on some other continent at an ungodly hour.

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      Why? I bet it bothers you and others a lot doesn’t it?


      • nelszz - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        1) If they want to make something a national holiday, I think it seems fitting that the reason we are taking off is for something happening in our own country.
        2) baseball takes the claim to being “America’s pastime” yet they take one of the best days of the season and move it to another dang continent.

        I don’t understand your firstworldproblem hastag ( on a site that doesn’t acknowlage or use hashtags). The fact I want an american game to be played on american soil in an american stadium that used my american dollars to help pay for makes me a firstworldproblem person?

      • Old Gator - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        If you’re such a great pot-banger for patriotism, why not at least capitalize “America,” Bubba? I bet the breakup of Laurasia was traumatic as hell for you.

      • infieldhit - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        The more often something is gratuitously labeled a “first world problem,” the more watered down it gets.

      • skids003 - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        We can’t even have a Holiday to celebrate our first and greatest President, George Washington. Why bother with this?

      • bolweevils2 - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        The whole “first world problems” attitude assumes that as long as someone in some third world country has bigger problems, you have no right to object to anything.

        (Not that I have any issue with playing 2 games in Australia to start the season)

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        How on earth did a comment about not having a holiday for George Washington get 3 thumbs up?

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        Because the country has much larger problems than to create another holiday that costs the economy billions of dollars?

        All these people waiting a holiday for this and that are going to be the same ones crying when cuts to actual programs that matter happen.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        And, yet, we have Presidents’ Day already.

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Wasted holiday, if removing it meant another 5 billion dollars for education they should tomorrow.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        My, you *are* angry. Good for you, education activist.

    • Old Gator - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      Uh – you do realize that baseball is played on five continents (unless some African country has recently added a league) and that a dozen other countries have professional baseball leagues, yes? Or that there have been leagues in Japan since the 1870s? Jingo jokester. You probably think that frankfurters are “American” too.

    • tc4306 - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      What? What about the Blue Jays if all games are played in the U.S.A?
      Do the Blue Jays get a 162 game road trip or just get disbanded?
      Can’t do the latter and spoil all of dirtyharry’s fun.
      I know we don’t have much of a team but we are in the league..sort of….
      But the big issue is that if you guys get a National holiday out of this,
      I want one too.

  2. jm91rs - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Which opening day? I don’t think all teams open on the same day.

    • southpaw2k - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:37 AM

      They don’t, which is the main problem with (rightfully) declaring Opening Day a national holiday. A little more than half the teams play on Opening Day, with the rest playing their first game the next day. MLB would need to do a couple things in order to make this work….

      1.) Don’t stack the schedule the way they do now. All teams play on Opening Day, period.

      2.) Fans whose teams open on the road would either go to a bar to watch their team play, or possibly take a rain check for when their teams have their home opener a few days later. More likely, they’d have to settle for watching their team open on the road in a bar.

    • kalinedrive - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      Exactly. While I’m not going to complain about a day off work, I’d much rather take it to watch the Tigers than the Diamondbacks. I don’t think there is a litmus test that says to be a true baseball fan you must appreciate all games equally.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Maybe it could be a floating sports holiday.

  3. sportsdrenched - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    Wait, I have to have an account to sign a petition? I just can’t sign it -SD?

  4. sdelmonte - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    I want a petition asking to end the petitions.

    • buggieowens - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      I think you would need to change the First Amendment to do that.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      But I have a grievance.

      • sdelmonte - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        You’ll have to wait till Festivus. Like, er, the rest of us. (Like I could resist that reference.)

  5. chc4 - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    For a growing % of society every day is a national holiday. It’s only fair for those of us that do work to get a break once in awhile. That said this is a dumb idea. A national holiday for MLB? Weak.

  6. wonkypenguin - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    My dad used to let me skip school starting in about 4th grade for Opening Day. He would “come home to take care of me” and we’d watch the Cubs together. Both of my parents were teachers so we had to be super careful not to let my mom find out.

    I’m now a 34-year-old woman who takes every Opening Day off from work and my dad comes up to watch the Cubs. My colleagues think I’m stupid – wasting vacation time to “watch TV.” And I simply call it Baseballmas and ignore them.

    Also: I live in Minnesota and am about as desperate for baseball as I have ever been. Your support for my mental health is greatly appreciated.

    • dexterismyhero - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      Same here Wonky. My dad and I would always catch opening day @ Connie Mack. He passed a while back and now I just hit my pub with some baseball buddies.

      But we do not need a National Holiday.

      • stex52 - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        Cool memory to have, dexter. You are fortunate.

    • southpaw2k - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      I feel sorry for your colleagues. No appreciation for what is unquestionably an American tradition.

      About a decade ago, I got an idea in my head to take my mom out for Mother’s Day to Camden Yards. She loved the idea, and it’s been an annual Mother’s Day tradition for us to go to a ballgame.

      And I love the term “Baseballmas,” by the way.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Wonderful to hear Wonky. Thank you for sharing.

  7. realgone2 - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    I’ve asking for this for years.

  8. angrytwitterguy - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Yes yes, the nation is in financial crisis so lets give everyone yet another day off. We’ll make up the 10 billion somewhere else.

    An idea only supported by the truly clueless

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      Yes yes, the nation is in financial crisis so lets give everyone yet another day off.

      What financial crisis involves those who are already working? Those without work are in a crisis, but they already have opening day off…

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        If only giving people the day off to go to baseball games could generate income…

        PS I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am eager to return to having the gametrax up at work. It’s excellent for one’s productivity.

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        You’re clueless just how much money is wasted on National holidays already, you’re paying state and federal workers for nothing, when they are already over-paid.

        You close business for a day and there goes billions of dollars out the window.

        Like i said clueless types want a national holiday for baseball. The state of Maine loses out on over 100 million dollars per National Holiday…..MAINE.

        So if you types get your fool holiday, just be sure not to complain when funds for education is cut yet again because of it.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        And, you’re clearly clueless about how public workers’ pay compares to the private sector and how appropriately it compensates them for their work.

      • jwbiii - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        angrytwitterguy, I have no doubt that a smart fellow like you can name at least five organizations with $3.5t budgets which pay their CEOs less than a utility infielder.


    • barrywhererufrom - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      Great post..

  9. mdpickles - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Where do I sign up!?!

    • infieldhit - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      Craig’s post literally says where to sign up.

  10. ez4u2sa - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Why not?! It would be great to have something positive to celebrate amongst all the bad news that we get hit with every day. For my money, they can do the same thing with Super Bowl Sunday!

    • dexterismyhero - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      Well it should be Super Bowl Saturday because Super Bowl Monday sucks. This is HBT anyway so sorry for the football references.

    • Old Gator - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      I think that every Horatio Alger loving American jingoist would be appalled at the idea of taking a Sunday orf.

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Because it would cost the country a few billion dollars that’s why

  11. infieldhit - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    Unfortunately, a petition for making the Monday after the Super Bowl a holiday would probably blow this out of the water.

    It would’ve been interesting though if they’d made baseball opening day a holiday back in the old days when it might’ve actually happened.

    On the other hand, it also often falls on April Fool’s Day…

  12. barrywhererufrom - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    I love baseball hate the idea..government workers need to be working as many days as they can..maybe we can celebrate May 5th in honor of the former USSR workers…enough already..

    • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Cinco de Mayo?

      • barrywhererufrom - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:16 PM

        May day every communists favorite Cinco De Mayo is another story..maybe after we,have amnesty for illegal aliens tbat could be next..

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        May Day (or International Workers’ Day) is May 1st — and, FYI, it’s a commemoration of the Haymarket incident in Chicago, IL, USA when workers were seeking an 8-hour workday. It’s only about the USSR inasmuch as their folks were showing solidarity with ours.

      • Old Gator - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        Don’t try to educate poor dim Barry. His head might explode, and you’d have to evacuate this blog until it could be decontaminated.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        Maybe we should all stage a sick out for Opening Day…

    • bolweevils2 - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      It’s not just government workers that get holidays off. Though admittedly it’s not uncommon for some stingy private industry companies to refuse to give their employees the day off on lesser national holidays. And I have to believe this would qualify as a lesser national holiday in their minds.

      Not that it stands a chance of happening, as much as I would love to have that day off and waste the day watching 3 straight games.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        “Though admittedly it’s not uncommon for some stingy private industry companies to refuse to give their employees the day off on lesser national holidays.”

        A person who has never had to cover a businesses overhead

  13. elmo - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Nice idea. Never gonna happen.

  14. eagles512 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    They need to make Presidents’ Day the day after the Super Bowl. Even though I have to work that day.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      Egads. When I was a kid we had holidays for Lincoln’s Birthday Feb 12 and Washington’s Birthday Feb 22. Then some geniuses decided to combine then into Presidents Day, which took 90% of the meaning away and they simply became retailers’ sales events. If you move the holiday again to coincide with a football game, I hope you will change the name since whatever little meaning for it remains will be gone.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:53 PM

        It was so inconsiderate of Washington not to be born on a day that coincided with the Super Bowl.

  15. righthandofjustice - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    Ozzie Smith can petition for making his own birthday a national holiday. He has the right to do that. And 100,000 signatures are like nothing. It just costs some money but you bet some anonymous person will pay for it.

  16. badsequel - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    If instead of thinking about taking a day off to drink beer and eat hot dogs you think of the economy and where games are played, you are an exceptionally boring person.

    • badsequel - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Here is the best option: I am a government worker, and I get Columbus Day off. Yeah, Columbus Day. Even I feel guilty about that one. How about we move that to April 1, and everybody gets that day off? Perfect.

  17. historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    It’s the most beautiful thing ever! I just got an ESPN alert for a Tigers’ game on my phone! Baseball is back!

  18. phillyshouldsignmaclin - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Great concept, but wrong sport…Baseball is quite boring and must institute a time clock/hard salary cap to help become relevant again.

    • bolweevils2 - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      Why are you here if you hate baseball?

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      Do us all a favor and punch yourself in the face right now.
      Hell…do YOURSELF a favor and punch yourself in the face right now.

  19. abcd1212 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    If Opening Day is a holiday, the day after the Super Bowl has to be considered one. The day after sports most popular, biggest game and people expect us not to arrive to work hungover?

    • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      They have a blog just for you called PFT. I think you wandered into the wrong room. Have a nice day. Don’t come back.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 25, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      The day after sports most popular, biggest game and people expect us not to arrive to work hungover?

      The World Cup Finals could use a day off after, especially for the almost 1B people that watched it last year. But I’m guessing that’s not what you were referring to…

  20. pastabelly - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Another paid day off for federal and state employees.

    When is “Opening Day” anyway? In Boston, it’s more about the home opener than any opener on the road or a game involving other teams.

    The chances of this passing should be ZERO%.

  21. thebigwhitecat - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    President Obama can just declare it a federal holiday. After all, he has the pen and the phone. Do it, Mr. President–while wearing your White Sox jacket.

  22. hisgirlgotburrelled - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    First you need to get MLB on board with making Opening Day an event! The majority of the country doesn’t even know when opening day is, even baseball fans. Especially in the years they play the first games at 4am EST. I promise you, baseball is already very popular in Japan. It’s great, they got their own league and everything. Then the (North American) Opening Day is all over the place. You have 1 game on Sunday Night, then you have some games on Monday. Several teams don’t even play their first game until Tuesday (one of them being a team in the biggest city in the US). It’s not until Wednesday you get 15 games… Opening Day(s) is a slow way to kick off the season. You’d have to make the whole first half of the week a holiday.

    Play 15 games the first day. Stagger starts every 2 hours starting at 12pm… It’s not crazy or an original idea, it’s almost how every single Sunday is during the season, except the first week. And don’t make it a holiday, it’s not a holiday. Just make it a big event. Imagine if Joe Montana was trying to make the NFL’s opening day a holiday, everyone here would think it’s the NFL and its fans loving the smell of themselves.

  23. Tornadoes28 - Feb 26, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Screw that stupid idea. Not everyone in this country likes your stupid sport.

  24. Minoring In Baseball - Feb 26, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    It’s about time. Most of us have been celebrating it as such for as long as we can remember, anyway. Why not be able to take the day off, or at least get paid double if you have to work?

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