Baseball is as American as Apple Pie, cheap beer and grandma. The NFL may be king in the ratings, and it may stay like that for the foreseeable future, but it will never have Baseball’s history. The first professional baseball game was played in 1871, a mere six years after the civil war ended. Since then, it has captivated American audiences (at least, when it isn’t boring them) and it has become not just a sporting event, but a part of our character, our identity. After all, it is the most successful baseball team in America’s largest city that has people wearing their hats and jerseys in virtually every country in the world, and not its football teams.
So, maybe it is time we take it to the next level? Maybe it is time we officially recognize the ancient past time for what it is? Afterall, we celebrate a holiday called “President’s day” that no longer falls on either president it was meant to honor’s birthday. Why can’t opening day for baseball be a national holiday? Surely more people care about that than a day that isn’t Washington’s birthday, right?
Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith promoted a petition which was started by that (formerly) All American Beer, Budweiser, with the intention to get Opening Day the recognition it deserves. Thanks to good old fashion social sharing on Facebook and Twitter, it had gathered more than 100,000 signatures, over the threshold for what it takes for the White House to officially look it over.
So how did the White House respond? By informing fans that they are barking up the wrong tree. John Earnest “Principal Deputy Press Secretary and a lifelong Kansas City Royals fan” responded to the request
While we are sympathetic to your pitch to make Opening Day a national holiday, it’s a little outside our strike zone: creating permanent federal holidays is traditionally the purview of Congress. So, it’s up to the men and women on Capitol Hill to decide whether to swing at this pitch.
Yes. that is correct folks, three fully legit baseball puns in two sentences. Boy, that White House staff sure knows how to bring out the chuckles! In any case, Earnest is technically correct. In order for a holiday to be called a holiday and be observed every year, it needs congressional approval.
However, the President does have the power to issue a one day observance with all the benefits of a national holiday, including a paid day off for federal employees, as former President George W. Bush did with national Reagan Day, giving non essential federal employees the day off for the lionized conservative’s funeral.
But that happening for baseball now looks about as likely as Mr. Earnest’s team winning the World Series.
Photo Credit: Boston Public Library]