This is how your 2012 big league season begins: In the middle of the night on a Wednesday in March, thousands of miles away, in a game between two bad teams playing in a dome, on fake grass, before a crowd that couldn't care less. It's a far cry from the traditional day game in Cincinnati, a tradition that went away so long ago it's almost embarrassing to admit to remembering it.
But there's marketing and merchandising to be done, which apparently means Japan, and definitely means this year's Opening Day is more like Opening Morning, with the Mariners and A's, no less. If that isn't enough to get you out of bed to celebrate the late innings with cereal and beer -- oatmeal pairs well with a nice oatmeal stout -- then there's not much we can do for you at this point.
Except ask a pertinent question: Outside of giving Japanese fans a chance to cheer Ichiro one more time, what's the point of this exercise?
Let's amend that question, since Japanese fans have had the opportunity to cheer and appreciate Ichiro over the last few days as they watch him play games against Japanese professional teams: Why did the A's have to be dragged into this?