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Former player starts campaign to make MLB's Opening Day a federal holiday

Posted by Doug Saffir  February 26, 2014 08:26 AM

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How would you like to have a nice three-day weekend at the end of March? Sounds pretty good, right? After all, that stretch of calendar between Presidents Day and Memorial Day is brutal. That's three months without a holiday. A Monday off in March sounds so good you probably don't even care what the reason is, you just want it.

Well, if you're at least kind of curious, here's why: Ozzie "The Wizard" Smith, the Hall of Fame shortstop nicknamed for his outstanding defense while playing for the Cardinals and Padres, is on a national campaign to make Major League Baseball's Opening Day a federal holiday.

With a little help from the Anheuser-Busch InBev corporation, Smith is "heading out on the campaign trail" in search of 100,000 signatures for his petition. He'll have his work cut out for him too since, according to the announcement on the Cardinals website, Smith will only have 30 days to get those signatures if he wants the White House to address the petition.

Of course, even if Smith gets his signatures, there's no reason to think he'll be successful. There are more important sports days that get no recognition despite their best efforts. A petition to make the day after the Super Bowl into a federal holiday failed earlier this year. Various arguments for freeing workers during the days of March Madness have left authority figures unmoved. Even outside the world of sports, there are no federal holidays honoring women or Native Americans. Heck, we don't even get Election Day off.

So what makes old Ozzie think Opening Day will be any different?

The truth is, it probably won't be any different. But there's certainly nothing wrong with trying, especially if it breaks up that holiday-less desert from February to May. If you want to help the cause (whether it's because you love baseball or you love three-day weekends, sanity, and all that's right in the world), you can sign Smith's petition at WhiteHouse.gov or Budweiser's Opening Day page.

(H/T SB Nation)

Reach me at douglas.saffir@globe.com. Follow me @dougsaffir

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