If only baseball had gotten its act together this spring, it could have staged a grand reopening act this summer, a kickoff to a pandemic-shortened season for America’s pastime on the most American of holidays — the Fourth of July.
“Oh, you mean baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?” sports business consultant Andy Dolich, 73, said, recalling the television advertising jingle that first aired in 1975. “Fireworks, families and communities coming together for a celebration … who’d be interested in that?”
The sarcasm in Dolich’s voice was as clear as his message: Major League Baseball missed a golden — actually, a red-white-and-blue — marketing opportunity by failing to launch its season July 4.
Sure, there would have been less pomp under the circumstances. With stadiums empty, there would be no need for the unfurling of giant American flags, military flyovers and extravagant postgame fireworks shows.
But if owners and players hadn’t spent three months haggling over money, a dispute that pushed what is now a scheduled 60-game season to July 23, baseball could have had the domestic sports stage to itself for weeks, returning well before the NBA and NHL.
And MLB could have produced a Fourth of July extravaganza, airing multiple season openers throughout the day to a country craving live sporting events and a distraction from the coronavirus