Did MLB Opening Day Even Happen This Year?

If a league begins in America and no one cares, did it even start?

Justin Verlander shrugs his shoulders while talking with Jose Altuve.
The Astros played on Opening Day. Who knew?
Getty Images

In addition to being home to all of the usual NBA and NHL games that generally take place at this time of year, Thursday was also a very busy and notable day for the NFL as three of the top quarterback prospects who are projected to be selected in next month’s draft (LSU QB Jayden Daniels, North Carolina QB Drake Maye and Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.) all held their Pro Day workouts. Adding to the buzz surrounding the NFL was the news that the league will be playing a doubleheader on Christmas Day, which falls on a Wednesday in 2024, and the price for the rights to broadcast each game will be starting at $50 million.

Other events on Thursday’s sports schedule also included the ongoing NCAA women’s basketball tournament, the start of the men’s Frozen Four tourney and the beginning of the Sweet 16 in March Madness, which saw No. 1 overall seed UConn taking care of business over San Diego State (but all three higher seeds — North Carolina, Iowa State and Arizona — failed to advance). The reigning champion Huskies have now won nine straight tourney games by an average of 22.8 points.

With all of that action taking place, it’s perfectly understandable you didn’t know, or didn’t care, that Thursday was also the official Opening Day for Major League Baseball — even if it really, really didn’t feel like it at all.

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This year’s MLB Opening Day was about as bland and misguided as one could imagine, with multiple rainouts of marquee teams and almost no national TV coverage or interest, thanks to the plethora of other options. Case in point: ESPN, which is still where most people go to watch sports, was scheduled to show one MLB game on Thursday at 3 p.m. before it was rained out. Think the abhorrent Oakland Athletics losing 8-0 to the boring Cleveland Guardians on a night A’s fans partied in the parking lot rather than attending the game was ugly? Just think of the ratings.

Which isn’t to say it was a bad day of baseball. Former Mariners farmhand Tyler O’Neill homered against his old team for the Boston Red Sox with his record-setting fifth consecutive tater on Opening Day. The reigning champion Rangers got a walk-off win in Texas, and new Yankee Juan Soto ingratiated himself to his new team by throwing out a runner at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning to help preserve a 5-4 comeback win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

It was a great play by Soto that really did happen, even if no one saw it or was aware it was even MLB’s Opening Day.

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