Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith has teamed up with Bud — as in Budweiser, not Bud Selig — in an attempt to make baseball’s Opening Day an official national holiday.
The two St. Louis institutions have teamed up to start a petition with the White House’s “We the People” web program. If 100,000 signatures are collected within 30 days, the petition would be reviewed by the Obama Administration.
This is far from the zaniest idea to be petitioned. In 2011, a petition started by Star Wars fans pushing to government to build a Death Star as a means of economic stimulus got enough signatures to warrant an official, albeit facetious, response. One fairly recent petition that called for the deportation of CNN anchor Piers Morgan failed, although his show just got canceled, so those people probably feel like they’ve won.
Others include honoring horror star Vincent Price with a postage stamp (his voice work in “The Great Mouse Detective” is cited, as if that would somehow trump his work in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”), appointing Chris Holmes US Ambassador to Iceland (direct quote: “He has been there a bunch of times and knows the best bars”), and a ban on circumcision (it’s not society’s fault no one wants to see your weird-looking dick, bro).
It makes sense that Anheuser-Busch would put its weight behind this effort. Lots of people skip work and drink beer on Opening Day, and giving everyone the day off would allow even more people to drink beer without even having to play hooky.
Of course, it will be pretty easy for the government to shoot this request down. Not every state has a baseball team, so they can easily say “Maybe you should just ask to have a state-wide holiday.”
Personally, I’m not opposed to the concept of adding another federal holiday. Frankly, we probably need about five more. Most of us are overworked and underpaid as it is, and five extra holidays would create an extra week worth of vacation time for everyone. Plus the government would save money — even if only a little — by shutting down various offices an additional five days a year. And sports can be responsible for all of them.
Opening Day should not be the only day baseball pushes for in this endeavor. The World Series does not rule the sports conversation as it once did. But if Game 1 was moved to daytime from prime time on a national holiday, it would feel like an event again, and it’s more likely casual fans would return for the remainder of the Series.
There are no two days on the sporting calendar more exciting than the first two days of the NCAA basketball tournament. Hell, the president himself even fills out a bracket every year. So does everyone else. And office productivity is probably shot on those two days. So why not just let everyone watch games all day? A four-day weekend would be glorious. Thanksgiving already gives us that for the most part. Why not have another one in the first half of the year? It would actually give us something to be thankful for.
The final sports-related holiday would of course be “Super Bowl Monday.” We’re not expected to work after partying on New Year’s Eve, so why should America’s next-biggest party be treated any differently? That’s particularly true in the participant cities, where win or lose you can bet a boatload of people aren’t showing up for work or school the next day.
While the titans of industry may be appalled by this proposal, I say a happy workforce makes a more productive workforce. So get on board. We need more holidays, and sports have given us the perfect vehicle to schedule them.