Column: Let us celebrate
"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
This famous quote by Hall-of-Famer Rogers Hornsby has always resonated with me.
Sure, I have the NBA, NFL and NHL to keep me entertained during the winter, but nothing hits home for me more than baseball.
When spring comes, the air is warmer and the grass is greener. Nothing says a 'warm-day outing' more than going to a ballpark or even just playing catch in the backyard.
So at the end of each Super Bowl, I count down the days until the Major League Baseball Opening Day, when I can celebrate a new beginning of my favorite sport once again.
Ozzie Smith, the former St. Louis Cardinals-great and another member of Cooperstown, would agree with me.
Smith wants the entire country to celebrate together and started a campaign earlier this week to ask the federal government to make Opening Day a national holiday.
The petition, backed by Budweiser and under the We the People program, requires Smith to gather 100,000 signatures within 30 days to initiate a review by the Obama administration.
As of Thursday afternoon, the White House web page hosting the petition has over 44,000 signatures already. With a deadline of March 26, it is highly possible that Smith's campaign will reach its goal.
Add in the factor of President Obama being an avid Chicago White Sox fan, andthe odds of making this thing happen do not sound so far-fetched after all.
According to an Associated Press article on ESPN, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the parent company of Budweiser, said "10 percent of respondents said they've skipped work to attend or watch an MLB opener, according to a survey by KRC Research. The online survey of 1,004 Americans 21 or older was conducted Feb. 13-16, and there was a 95 percent level of confidence the error margin was plus or minus 3.09 percent."
I'll be the first to admit that I have skipped school and classes to watch or attend Opening Days in the past. Nothing was more important to me than getting the first glimpse at a new Yankees squad.
I'll also admit that baseball is no longer America's most popular sport; football has got a stranglehold on that. But the elements of a timeless game with no definitive end until the final out is made, along with the frequency of competition, will always make baseball the most intriguing sport to me, even with all the long pauses during the games.
Ted Williams once said, "Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer."
That's what makes this game so wonderful: watching people try to master such difficult skills on a daily basis.
So here's to hoping "The Wizard" can work some of his magic and allow baseball fans like me slouch on the couch and forget any responsibilities, even just for a day.
In the meantime, only 33 days until the Yankees open their 2014 campaign in Houston.
Follow Mike Peng on Twitter @MikeXPeng
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