MLB Opening Day

Major League Baseball batter silhouette, which has been the MLB logo since 1968. Photo retrieved from

Darrius Frazier, Archivist

April 7 was Opening Day in Major League Baseball (MLB). Thomas Boswell, a retired Washington Post sports columnist, declared Opening Day ‘a symbol of rebirth’ since teams start off at 0-0. Prior to Opening Day, MLB teams play exhibition games, known as “Spring Training” in late Feb. and throughout March. In regards to Opening Day, many teams consider it the day they host their first home game of the season.

For decades, Opening Day has started in Cincinnati, Ohio with pageantry, including a parade and a day off of school and work. The Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals are the most frequent opponents for the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day.

This is the first year that the Nation League (NL) has permanently adopted the Designated Hitter (DH) rule. The purpose of the DH is for a baseball player to bat in place of a position player, typically a pitcher. The NL incorporated the DH rule during the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season and also used it this past year. 

Prior to the start of the 2022 MLB season, MLB and its players’ union was engaged in a three-month long lockout in which the owners closed all facilities, preventing any team activities, which can result in missed games, loss of paychecks and unhappy fans. This was the ninth work stoppage in league history and the first since the near disastrous 1994-95 strike, which canceled the 1994 postseason, including the World Series, and nearly destroyed the sport.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the cancellation of the first two series of the season, in turn delaying Opening Day from March 31 to April 7. The first two series will ultimately be made up at the end of the season. On March 10, when the lockout was lifted, the owners and the players’ association came to an agreement to limit Spring Training this season, increase minimum salary and expand the postseason, among other things.

President Josh Bullock is a Wisconsin native, born north of Milwaukee. Not surprisingly, he roots for the Milwaukee Brewers. Bullock believes that “the Brewers have the best pitching staff and bats of winning the National League and the World Series.”

 In addition, Bullock mentioned his approval of the new DH rule for the National League. He reasons that this way, both leagues are consistent and it also means the Brewers and the rest of the National League can sign batters to deals if they can still contribute.

Outgoing Vice President of Academic Affairs Jon Althaus, is an avid Chicago Cubs fan. Althaus “tries to represent as much as possible” in regards to displaying his loyalty to the Chicago Cubs.

In regards to the new DH rule in the NL, Althaus stated that “for years, being a National League fan, I did not see the value of it. In the COVID year of 2020 when the DH was first instituted, I realized that the DH has brought more offense to the game and that pitchers, by trade, are not very good hitters.” Althaus concluded that “not having the pitcher and having an easy out will bring fun and excitement to the fans.”

Greg Powers, the broadcast communications instructor and chair of the broadcasting department, is a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan. Powers claimed that “the Cardinals will be able to compete in the National League Central due to outstanding pitching, and return of younger fans in the line-up.” 

Additionally, Powers was glad that both the owners and players came to an agreement regarding the line-up stating that “it would be the death of baseball if they didn’t come together to an agreement. Better late than never.” 

Brenda Hunzinger, a biology and genetics instructor at LLC, is also a lifelong St. Cardinals fan. Hunzinger does not like the DH rule in the NL, stating “that’s what made the National League unique. It forces baseball to not focus on the big hitter, to do hit and runs and base-stealing.”

Andrew “Andy” Gaines, a psychology instructor, roots for the Chicago Cubs. Gaines revealed that “as a lifelong fan of the National League, I was opposed to the DH in the NL. However, during the COVID season when both leagues went to it, I found myself liking the fact that there wasn’t an automatic out every ninth hitter.”

Gaines did express his frustration regarding the lockout disclosing how there was “little regard for the spring training communities and tourism income.” 

He explained further, “I’ve been to both the Grapefruit and Cactus League for several years now and I know that hotels, rental properties, bars and restaurants in some of those areas make a large percentage of the annual income from spring training tourism. It seemed that little concern was given to that, so long as they did not lose any of the regular season.”

Bryan Burrell, an academic advisor, is a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan. Burrell believes the Dodgers’ chances of making it back to the World Series “are excellent with the addition of Freddie Freeman and Cole Kimbrel.” Burrell stated that “I think MLB needed to bring the DH to the NL to make things equal and to bring more offense and excitement to baseball, which the fans are looking for.”

 Regarding the lockout, Burrell declared, “It is hard for the average person to feel sorry for either side with the amount of money being generated and the amount of money the players are making.”

Last but not least, James “D.J. Bougie” Silas, a broadcast communications alum, is also a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Silas is enthusiastic about the Cardinals’ chances to make it to the post-season due to one of the Cardinals’ sayings, “Build back October along with having hitters and good pitching.” Silas stated, “I didn’t like the new DH rule; however, it helps the Cardinals, since Albert Pujols came back to the team.”

Facebook Comments Box