Well, kind of. The A's and Mariners played that farce of a series in Japan. I'm sure it does wonders for Japanese MLB fans, but it does squat here in the states. Tonight, the Cardinals go down to Miami to open up the Marlins new stadium in a game that counts in the standings, but it's just a one game deal, no real series there. And the Marlins already played at least one spring training game in their new digs with the Yankees, because I watched some of that game. So, really, there's not a whole lot special here other than this game counts in the standings. And then tomorrow, actually during the day like God intended, half of the teams start their regular season. Then the last batch of teams catch up on Friday.
What the hell, baseball? Why the confusing end of spring training and/or the start of the regular season? What is so wrong about declaring "this is when our season starts" and having Cincinnati kick off the start of the year? Baseball usually has the best opening to the season over all other sports, and it's not even close. It's so far ahead of other sports, that even with this trainwreck of a plan, it's still ahead. But it's definitely not good. I know tradition isn't always the healthiest thing, because it can prevent you from seeing better ways of handling situations. But, really, there is no real downside to everybody starting the same day, and why not have the nod to good old Cincinnati* and their historical significance in starting professional baseball? It just makes sense.
*I honestly don't know how good or bad a city Cincinnati is. I was there once, and we just went to a Reds game and right back to Wabash, so we didn't really see much of the city.
Too much sense, I guess, for the MLB marketing department. They have to cash in for those ESPN dollars and growing that Japanese fanbase. I don't begrudge them for wanting those things, but it sure seems like there are better ways to do that. For one, go ahead and send some teams to play in Japan before their (and our) real season starts. I have no problem with that. But don't make them regular season games. You might lean a little hard on the managers to have them play their "real" players a little longer than they would usually, but I don't think it would take much pressure to get teams and players to do that anyway. And why not just have ESPN carry a game on the night of opening day? Is that just not special enough for ESPN? Wait, probably not, now that I think about it. There's the whole mess of the NFL opening up on a Thursday or something wholly unnatural like that.
I guess what it comes down to is ESPN is both the best and the worst thing to happen to sports over the last few decades. Please, ESPN, quit fucking with our good, wholesome traditions. Some of us happen to be quite attached to them.