April 5, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Baseball on the opening day logo before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Day a National Holiday?

Mar 30, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; General view of a base prior to the opening day baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The following petition was created on February 24th of this year on the petitions.whitehouse.gov website:

MLB Opening Day is more than just the beginning of the season. It’s a symbol of rebirth. The coming of spring. The return of America’s national pastime. It’s a state of mind where anything is possible. You can feel the electricity in the air. Opening Day brings with it the promise of a new beginning. Every fan is in good spirits. It’s a day of celebration. It’s a day of hope. It’s a day that, for generations, has been looked forward to by baseball fans every off-season. It’s an American tradition, and it deserves to be recognized as an American holiday. Join us in our quest to make sure every American can exercise their inalienable right to celebrate the day those two magical words are uttered for the first time: “PLAY BALL!”

Yours truly was one of the first 700 or so signers.  The White House promises ‘official responses’ to petitions once they hit the 100,000 signature mark – and this one did, garnering 102,919 concurring signatures as of this writing.


Unfortunately … they balked:


Official White House Response to Declare Major League Baseball Opening Day a national holiday.

Honoring Our National Pastime

By Josh Earnest

For more than a century, American presidents have celebrated baseball’s Opening Day — from President William Taft’s 1910 first pitch from the stands, to President Obama toeing the rubber at Nationals Park in 2010.

Opening Day signals a new beginning, not only for the 30 Major League Baseball teams playing for their shot at a title, but for the millions of fans who will follow the 162-game journey — from “Play ball!” through the last out. That includes President Obama, who will be rooting for his White Sox to go all the way.

While we are sympathetic to your pitch to make Opening Day a national holiday, it’s a little outside our strike zone: creating permanent federal holidays is traditionally the purview of Congress. So, it’s up to the men and women on Capitol Hill to decide whether to swing at this pitch.

To celebrate Opening Day, we’ll be honoring the 2013 World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, here at the White House on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, I’ll spend that day visualizing what it would be like to welcome my 2014 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals to the White House. That is, after all, the best part of Opening Day: every team is tied for first place and poised to make a run at the Fall Classic.

Thanks again for your petition and your participation in We the People.

Josh Earnest is Principal Deputy Press Secretary and a lifelong Kansas City Royals fan.


In other words – it’s Congress’s fault.  Oh well, hopefully the matter at least got enough attention to remind everybody – whether fans of baseball or not – that Opening Day is now upon us… notwithstanding the renegade games played in Australia or Sunday evening in San Diego.

It’s time to play ball!

Tags: Atlanta Braves Opening Day

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