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Muscle Sport Magazine

MLB International Opening Series Critique

MLB.com

Our National Pastime should not be throwing the first pitch of the regular season anywhere but the continental United States; plain and simple. And while we’re at it, it should be in Cincinatti and begin either the day before or earlier the same day as the rest of the respective leagues.

We can’t make it any more clearer than that.

Playing exhibition games – and even the All-Star Game – overseas is one thing and they are actually can be more interesting thereat. But once “Play ball” is yelled by the home plate umpire for real, can the bullshit with the dog and pony show across the globe.

The 2019 MLB regular season began while many folks were still asleep at 5:35 AM EST on March 20, 2019. That’s because the game between the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners took place in Tokyo, Japan. The Mariners – with hometown hero Ichiro Suzuki – were 9-7 victors in a typical American League affair made even better/worse (depending on your opinion) in the bandbox Tokyo Dome.

This all began in 1996 when the San Diego Padres and New York Mets played a three-game set in Mexico, but it took place in August. But three years later, the suits at the MLB home office came up with the ‘grand idea’ to open the season in another country and since then, Mexico, Japan and Australia have been the chosen hosts. There have also been six regular season games played in Puerto Rico between 2000 and 2018.

And don’t think that this short two-game series in Japan fills the quota for this season, either. Not contempt with force-feeding international games for the opening series, MLB will go to the well three more times this summer – April (Mexico), May (Mexico again) and June (England).

Opening Day is much like Super Bowl Sunday – an unofficial American ‘holiday’ of sorts, and the Reds had the privilege of “opening the Openers” from 1876 through 1989. (There were two occasions in that century-plus period where the Reds were rained out and opened on the road.)

That’s American.

That’s baseball.

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