Opening Day

By the end of Tuesday, every Major League Baseball team will have played its season-opening game. But after all the build-up to Opening Day, the next day is a letdown for many fans.

And why? Because lots of MLB teams -- more than half this year -- are off the day after Opening Day. This is a weird time to give players a break, just one game into a 162-game season, and on the surface it doesn't seem fan-friendly, either.

So what gives? Why take a break when the season's just begun?

It sounds counterintuitive when you're trying to ramp up fan excitements, but the reality is MLB is doing a favor to protect the fan experience. There's no day in baseball quite like Opening Day -- for diehard fans, it's an unofficial holiday.

Ticket prices reflect that increased interest. Fans want to be able to say they were at the game during Opening Day. But suppose bad weather caused the game to be postponed. In that case, the second game of the season would become the season-opener. And, if that happened, everyone who paid premium prices with the intent of watching baseball on Opening Day -- well, they'd be screwed out of the experience.

By building in a one-day break between the first and second games, MLB gives teams a chance to postpone the opener without upsetting ticket-holders. That's important when you're starting the season in early April, when it's still winter in northern parts of the country.

Look at Monday's Opening Day games: Both the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees had games pushed back because of extremely low temperatures.

Without that one-day buffer, the second game of the series would become Opening Day, throwing fans into an uproar. So while the break may be deflating, it's a necessarily evil to preserve the integrity of that hallowed season-opener.

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