Every year around this time when teams are ensconced in spring training, fans eagerly await opening day. This year promises to start off with more than the usual level of excitement because March 28, 2019 will be the earliest start EVER to the season. Last year’s opening game was held on March 29, and although just a day earlier, it’s still a day for the record books. Perhaps it isn’t going to be as memorable as the first MLB All Star game played at Comiskey Park in Chicago on July 6, 1933, but it will be memorable, nonetheless.
All 30 Teams to Play
According to an article in USA Today dated August of last year, all 30 teams are set to play on this day, the earliest opening day in history. The only time an opening game was earlier in the calendar year would be international opening games played with U.S. teams against international foes. A week prior to opening day here in the States, the Seattle Mariners hosting the Oakland Athletics will play at the Tokyo Dome in Bunkyou Tokyo, Japan. As mentioned, international games do start the season a bit earlier but this gives fans around the world a chance to see American baseball live in their own home country. It should also be noted that over the years baseball has grown in popularity in Japan; although not as popular as their Japanese leagues, MLB is followed religiously.
Fans Around the Globe Are Building Their Teams in Fantasy Games
It is said that the Japanese love baseball so much that they are up on all the latest stats, not only of current Japanese players in the MLB but also those who have played over the years. It’s amazing just how popular the sport is, and it is estimated that Fantasy Baseball online is also a favorite pastime in Japan. It would be interesting to follow those playing Diamond Mind online to see what teams they build, which players they offer up for trade, and which players from history they have their sights set on in their fantasy teams.
Prophetic for the Mariners?
Here, it is interesting to note that Yusei Kikuchi, said to be the best Japanese pitcher, may be starting for the Mariners in his home country. This couldn’t have been known last year when the opening dates and locations were set. Many fans believe this will be ‘the year’ for the Mariners because they say it’s more than a coincidence, it’s synchronicity. Perhaps this will be a fantasy, a dream come true for both the Mariners and Kikuchi, but we haven’t long to wait. That opening game in Japan is fast approaching.
If there is any reason to begin following teams on opening day, it would be to begin building your All Stars teams. It may be fantasy baseball to some, but to coaches, players and fans, it’s a way of life. That’s Major League Baseball and why it will always be ‘the American Sport.’