Tuesday, April 1, 2008

DOH-mer Of The Week- ねり粉! (Batter up!)

As a lifelong baseball fan, I’ve just witnessed the greatest foul. It has nothing to do with needles and enhancing player performances, but everything to do with playing outside the lines. As a fan, there are several dates on a baseball calendar that are special, and Major League Baseball just deprived fans in Oakland of one of them, which is opening day.

For me, opening day was always that afternoon game. Parents call in sick to work, you play hooky from school, and the family rushes out to the ballpark to welcome back their beloved veterans, and say hello to the new faces prepared to make a run at the pennant. When baseball decided to open the season earlier for 2 teams, and play that game in foul ground (Japan), it was like being hit with a Louisville slugger, accompanied by feelings of desertion and abandonment. One of my personal possessions was stolen and sold on the black market for others to enjoy. After seeing the Red Sox play the A’s in Tokyo, all I could do was ask myself…“what’s next, fan appreciation day in f*cking India?!?!”

I realize baseball, like America’s other major sports, is a business. The main goal of every business, such as Walmart, McDonalds, etc, is to become global. But I honestly couldn’t give a $h!t about the Japanese buying my burgers or fruit of the looms. What happens when they come bidding to purchase my team? Well, my Dodgers are a money maker, so I like my chances of surviving international ownership, but what about those struggling franchises? Baseball had trouble giving away the Montreal Expos, so suppose a foreign investor came knocking. Why wouldn’t they? They’re already selling the product overseas. The “Mitsubishi Marlins” has a nice ring. Doesn’t it?

The bottom line is, teams that the DOHmers are serving up to foreign lands were built and survived on the money of the American fans. This is money that not only came from your pocket, but from your father’s, and his father before him. Industry has been jumping our borders faster than fugitives on the run, and the American people are quick to voice their opinions on that…so why not see it for what it is? When baseball opens on foreign soil, it’s a reality check that enables us to see it for the business that it is. Our blue collar workers are screaming to “buy American”, but the league is purchasing foreign players. The comparison is lost, because Baseball is viewed as a sport and not a business. And now, with this opening day in Japan, we’re not only purchasing foreign products, we’re selling America. We’re selling that little bit of something that I actually called “my own”.

My list of special baseball dates would include, opening day, the all star game, any playoff or World Series appearances for my home team, and fan appreciation day. Oakland fans can scratch opening day from the list, and the rest of us will have to keep watch of the remainders to be checked off. You don’t get two opening days, regardless of how some analysts will defend baseball’s decision. You only have two openers, if you are willing to accept the artificial, while another country receives the real product. I’m not, and never will, accept that.

I wouldn’t call Major League Baseball “DOHmers” for their business approach, but they get the tag for leaving America behind. Sell your product, with exhibitions or a regular season game in May, but don’t serve the Japanese dates that have always held importance to the American baseball fan.

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