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savafan
03-26-2008, 01:10 PM
http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/sportscolumns/entries/2008/03/25/sayonara_baseba.html

By Furman Bisher | Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 08:57 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution



Baseball used to be a game played with nine men to a side, two managers, four umpires, and the major-league season always opened in Cincinnati. Come to think of it now, that would be sort of like ďGone With the WindĒ opening in Valdosta. But Cincinnati had a deal, see.

The first ďmajor leagueĒ baseball game was played in Cincinnati on June 1, 1869. The locals, the Red Stockings, eked out a 48-14 victory over Mansfield, whoever Mansfield was. So, several years ago ó even the league office isnít sure when ó it became a custom that every major-league season opened in Cincinnati. Nobody played before the Red Stockings, now shortened to Reds. It was just that way. Thatís how baseball is, very long on tradition. It just gets into a habit it likes and stays there.

Well, not any longer. Money can change any habit. Eight springs ago the Mets and Cubs opened the season, not in Cincinnati. Guess where? Tokyo. That Tokyo, the guys who gave us Pearl Harbor. Some people donít like you to bring that up, trade with Japan is so hot. But Iíve got a long memory. I saw what a few bombs can do to our property.

Oh, well, Ďscuse me. Itís just tough to get away from it when you turn on your TV in the morning there are the Boston Red Sox playing the Oakland Aís in the Tokyo Dome. Not only that, but the Red Sox pitcher is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who didnít grow up in Wampole.

Why not? A Japanese newspaper chain, Yomiuri, foots the bill for this Oriental excursion. Yomiuri is not exactly the Chicago Tribune of Japanese baseball. Yomiuri owns several teams. The Tribune owns only one team, and that team hasnít been in a World Series since World War II. (Sorry to have to bring that up again.) Yomiuriís team has been the Yankees of Japan, and Iím not sure, but I think they call themselves the Giants.

About Cincinnati and its dibs on opening day, that went on for years. Then the major leagues expanded from coast to coast, cramping the schedule. Television came in spreading money around like fertilizer, and things began to change. The Reds no longer had a monopoly on opening day. So they were allowed to throw the first pitch before anybody else. That privilege is gone now, but one priority remains ó the Reds are always allowed to open the season at home. So much for tradition, of which about all that remains is that the baseball hides are actually sewed together by hand by ladies in some Latin American country.

They no longer play a Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown. The All-Star Game ends when the commissioner says itís time to go home, even if the score is tied. World Series games start about my bedtime. The schedule is so jacked around that the Braves open the season with a one-game ďseriesĒ in Washington, where a new ball park is being opened. There, one other tradition still prevails: Presidents still throw out first balls. George Bush gets to start the last game of his eight-year career on the mound.

It would be my guess that in Japan, emperors donít throw out first balls, or even have any kind of presence at such a sweaty game. I saw a game in the Tokyo Dome once, but it was more dome-shaped then. It now appears to have gone oblong to oblige the new long-ball society. Managers are interchangeable, it seems. Bobby Valentine is still managing a team in Japan, and Trey Hillman, who managed five seasons in Japan, is now managing the Kansas City Royals, which, on the surface, appears to be a demotion.

So thatís where major-league baseball stands today, geographically. Not here in the USA, not in Cincinnati, not even in Kauai, but on the other side of the International Dateline. Heaven only knows where itís headed next. They tell me theyíre building a state of the Soviet stadium in Vladivostok, complete with a video screen as high as the sky, and beer sales. Oh, I forgot tell you this about Cincinnatiís sin. The Red Stockings were expelled from the league in 1880 for selling beer at the park. Think of that!

westofyou
03-26-2008, 01:12 PM
Furman Bisher welcome to the La Brea Tar Pit

Enjoy your stay.

11larkin11
03-26-2008, 01:16 PM
Hand claps all around

Joseph
03-26-2008, 01:26 PM
I want Cincinnati to have the first game as much as anyone, but talking about it now kind of feels like arguing the schedule being 162 instead of 154 is a slap at tradition. How long has it been that there was an ESPN Sunday night game? A decade?

Roy Tucker
03-26-2008, 01:30 PM
Furman Bisher joins the "get off my lawn" club at RZ.

Hey, when did it get to be the future? I missed it.

KoryMac5
03-26-2008, 01:30 PM
I think the author is right on several points, even if I don't like how he arrived at them. Baseball is tradition in the states and the first game of the season should be played in Cincinnati where it all started back in 1869. Bud needs to stop pimping opening day out to the highest bidder and get back to tradition.

RedsBaron
03-26-2008, 01:36 PM
I think the author is right on several points, even if I don't like how he arrived at them. Baseball is tradition in the states and the first game of the season should be played in Cincinnati where it all started back in 1869. Bud needs to stop pimping opening day out to the highest bidder and get back to tradition.

I agree. As a Reds fan, I like having the NL season open in Cincinnati,and, now that there is again a team in D.C., I also like the idea of the Nationals opening at home with the president throwing out the first ball. I really dislike the regular season starting in Japan, while spring training is still going on for 28 of the teams.
Oh well, I had better check on my lawn. ;)

Johnny Footstool
03-26-2008, 01:42 PM
He could have made his point without the ugly, "they bombed Pearl Harbor" comments, though.

westofyou
03-26-2008, 01:44 PM
He could have made his point without the ugly, "they bombed Pearl Harbor" comments, though.

Hey... the man was 23 that year!!

Johnny Footstool
03-26-2008, 01:48 PM
Tokyo. That Tokyo, the guys who gave us Pearl Harbor. Some people don’t like you to bring that up, trade with Japan is so hot. But I’ve got a long memory. I saw what a few bombs can do to our property.

This statement is just dripping with (unintended, I assume) irony.

I'm sure quite a few Japanese citizens have a long memory, too, and know full well what a bomb or two can do.

savafan
03-26-2008, 01:50 PM
This statement is just dripping with (unintended, I assume) irony.

I'm sure quite a few Japanese citizens have a long memory, too, and know full well what a bomb or two can do.

Good point.

RedsManRick
03-26-2008, 01:51 PM
I'm not terribly hung up about opening day in Cincy, but it bugs me that the first games of the baseball season were nearly unwatchable for Americans given the time difference -- to say nothing of having to put up with Steve Phillips' color commentary...

While I understand the value of expanding in to new markets and growing revenue for the sport, it seems that the commissioners of sports leagues often forget that what's best for the league and what's best for bottom line fiscally aren't always the same thing.

savafan
03-26-2008, 01:53 PM
I wonder if Oakland and/or Boston season ticket holders get a discount when these games get played overseas.

red-in-la
03-26-2008, 02:39 PM
This statement is just dripping with (unintended, I assume) irony.

I'm sure quite a few Japanese citizens have a long memory, too, and know full well what a bomb or two can do.

Most of the bombs, and even ships, that found US forces were made from US scrap metal. You don't have to reach all the way to baseball to find irony in our relations with Japan.

I fully expect to see MLB play in Korea, Japan and China in years to come.

Chip R
03-26-2008, 02:54 PM
I wonder if Bisher has bought - or uses - any Japanese technology. TVs, radios, cars, etc.

RedsBaron
03-26-2008, 03:35 PM
He could have made his point without the ugly, "they bombed Pearl Harbor" comments, though.

We had better never play a major league baseball game in England, after the Limeys burned in the White House during the War of 1812. ;):usa:

cincinnati chili
03-27-2008, 01:55 AM
I wonder if Oakland and/or Boston season ticket holders get a discount when these games get played overseas.

You're probably joking around, but if not I'm sure Oakland season ticket holders were only billed for 79 home games rather than 81.

They were both Oakland "home" games. The Red Sox would have fought tooth and nail to give up one of its 81 home games. IIRC, the Sox generate about $2 milion / home game. I doubt Oakland averages a 1/4 of that per game for games in the middle of the week in months before school is out.

remdog
03-27-2008, 02:01 AM
It was stated on the broadcast that MLB 'compensates' the home team (in this case Oakland) for it's lost revenue for home games. How they compute that, they didn't say.

Given the above, I would have to believe that a season package for the A's this year is 79 games.

Rem

Reds Nd2
03-27-2008, 01:32 PM
Hey, when did it get to be the future? I missed it.

When did Motley Crue become classic rock?

blumj
03-27-2008, 02:56 PM
I think the Reds should be one of the teams to go play a few games in Japan next time.

Chip R
03-27-2008, 02:57 PM
I think the Reds should be one of the teams to go play a few games in Japan next time.


You think they should forget about having the traditional Opening Day here?

BCubb2003
03-27-2008, 03:02 PM
I kind of enjoyed that tradition in the 70s where the Reds were in the last game of the year.

Heath
03-27-2008, 03:07 PM
I wonder if Bisher has bought - or uses - any Japanese technology. TVs, radios, cars, etc.

You think he's ever shied away from his Philco?

blumj
03-27-2008, 03:12 PM
You think they should forget about having the traditional Opening Day here?
No, both. Tough trip, but it might be worth it.