On Tuesday night, the Rangers played an exhibition game against the Mexico City Red Devils. Steve already broke down the on-the-field action, but I wanted to share a couple of my own thoughts.
As I watched the game on TXA 21, two important things occurred to me:
1) It took place on American soil.
2) It didn’t count in the standings.
The reason I bring these things up is because it was actually a week ago that the 2012 season officially kicked off. If you didn’t realize that, I don’t blame you. As far as Opening Days goes, it was a lot more of a whimper than it was a bang.
Y’see, in their infinite wisdom, Major League Baseball decided to start the season in Japan between the A’s and the Mariners at 4 in the morning a week before any other team was scheduled to play. Then both teams came back to the states and played more exhibition games.
The reason they did all of this is that they want to grow the game internationally. I get that. It makes a ton of sense from a marketing standpoint.
What doesn’t make sense to me is that a professional sports league would start their season half a world away and with so little fanfare.
(As an indication of how little, consider that A’s fans in the Bay Area couldn’t even watch it because of MLB’s ridiculous blackout restrictions. This game was the baseball equivalent of George Washington crossing the Delaware.)
Once the two games in Japan were wrapped up, the A’s and Mariners went back to playing Spring Training games. It was as if the season had never started at all!
If the commissioner’s office wanted to grow Major League Baseball in Japan, they should have taken a page out of the Rangers’ book. Instead of outsourcing your game, bring a Japanese team to you and let your local fans enjoy the novelty and the spectacle in your ballpark.
…and don’t call it Opening Day if it happens on the other side of the world when everyone is asleep.
Press on, Rangers fans.