Discontinued MLB Opening Day Traditions

opening day

Opening Day in baseball is a special day for baseball fans throughout the country, providing tangible reinforcement of dreams that sunny summer days will soon be upon us and, hopefully, a championship for the home team may be just seven months away. Major League Baseball has done an excellent job building up the celebration of this time of year. Likewise, each team has their own ways of adding to the pageantry. Some of those grand traditions, however, simply don’t last….

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS – In what started as a practical joke in 2005, D-backs management chose to replace manager Bob Melvin in the dugout with a cactus in a Bob Melvin jersey during the season opener. The next year, they repeated the gag and the tradition was born. It ended in 2009 when someone finally noticed.

CINCINNATI REDS– Starting in 1979, a local radio station began providing fans free turkeys by dropping them from a helicopter onto a vacated area of the parking lot near Riverfront Stadium. The turkey drop was ended in 1982 when an adolescent organization known as PETA demanded they either put an end to it or at least stop using live turkeys.

NEW YORK YANKEES – During a number of years from 1975 to 1988, it became tradition for Yankees fans to try to avoid being on the road when Billy Martin was driving home from the bar after the home opener.

ST LOUIS CARDINALS – For years, it became routine on Opening Day for Cards fans to gather at the ballpark and pat each other on the back simply for being Cardinals fans. The franchise put an end to it only recently after realizing the fans were so obsessed with themselves that they were completely oblivious to the game itself.

ATLANTA BRAVES – In the 80s, long before shows like Man vs Food, Braves players would challenge one of their own to eat as much of the lavish opening day postgame spread as possible in 60 minutes. The last of these challenges culminated with documented “fat tub of goo” pitcher Terry Forster unintentionally ingesting diminutive second baseman Glenn Hubbard.

SEATTLE MARINERS – At the beginning of each season starting in 1986, the M’s had promotional giveaways featuring bobbleheads of local pop culture icons. For example, a Bill Gates bobblehead was presented to fans in the year 2000. Public outcry brought this gift pattern to an ugly end in 1995 after 20,000 fans were given Kurt Cobain bobbleheads without a head.

TEXAS RANGERS – Every season future president George W Bush held partial ownership of the franchise, the home opener was preceded by a “Texas Rangers, World Champions” banner raising.

MONTREAL EXPOS – Les Expos de Montréal had a quaint little tradition of actually existing.

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