Opening Day has arrived -- yet the bigwigs have somehow managed to take the thrill away.

How can that be? Let's see, Japan was used as a cash cow for two regular-season games last week and the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles played Sunday night in a made for ESPN matchup.

All this while other teams were still playing exhibition games in Florida and Arizona. Baseball used to be as dependable as a comfortable pair of spikes -- the first game of the season always took place in Cincinnati to honor that town's rich baseball tradition.

Baseball stopped paying attention to its roots a long time ago in its search to win the hearts and minds of the casual fan. It lost something along the way -- traditionalists who saw the game for what it is -- a living, breathing link between the current generation and the past.

Mychal Wilmes

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