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2008-05-26 21:09
by Bob Timmermann

From the AP recap of Tampa Bay's 7-3 win over Texas:


Tampa Bay is just the second team—joining the 1903 New York Giants—to have the best mark on Memorial Day after finishing with the worst record in the big leagues the previous season (66-96).

Today is indeed Memorial Day and the Rays do indeed have the best record in the majors at 31-20.


However, in 1903, Memorial Day was on May 30. The idea of moving holidays around to give people a three-day weekend likely hadn't been considered by anybody. Significant portions of the population had to work six days a week anyway.

And on May 30, 1903, which was Memorial Day, the best record in the majors belonged to the Chicago Cubs who were 27-11, one game better than the Giants who were 25-11.

If Memorial Day in 1903 had been moved to a Monday, the Giants still wouldn't have had the best record. The Cubs still did. However, on Tuesday, May 26, the Giants had the best record, although they were actually 1/2 game behind the Cubs in the standings.

Memorial Day wasn't moved to a Monday until 1968 and there is a group that wants the day moved back to May 30 to give the day more reverance as Veterans Day has. Veterans Day was celebrated on the final Monday in October for a few years in the 1970s until veterans groups complained about it.

(The St. Petersburg Times story and the story DID NOT make the same mistake.)

2008-05-26 23:05:33
1.   Xeifrank
Go Tampa Bay and your 150:1 odds to win the W.S.
vr, Xei
2008-05-26 23:20:47
2.   Linkmeister
This is one of those things where you can say "I blame Richard Nixon" and be absolutely accurate and devoid of irony.
2008-05-26 23:53:16
3.   68elcamino427
a group that wants the day moved back to May 30
This is a great link Bob. Too many people do not understand what Memorial Day is all about.
So many have sacrificed everything so that we may be free.
Memorial Day is a day to simply say to those that died, Thank You for paying for the freedom that I enjoy today, with your life.
2008-05-26 23:58:14
4.   Bob Timmermann
Actually, Johnson signed the law into effect.
2008-05-27 00:14:17
5.   Andrew Shimmin
I blame Gary Bennett!
2008-05-27 01:45:23
6.   Eric Enders
I think we should take it a step further and go back to calling it by its real name, Decoration Day.

And the one in November, Armistice Day.

2008-05-27 07:33:50
7.   chris in illinois
I understand why someone might object to shuffling holidays all over the calendar, but how is the Rays achievement less impressive because congress moved the date some 40 years ago??

Maybe I'm missing the point here but the Rays have the best record after 51 games, whereas the two examples you mentioned hadn't cracked 40 yet.

Memorial Day and Veterans Day IMO aren't as revered as they once were simply because most Americans haven't ever lost a family member while in the service. That wasn't true in the 50's as most people had a father or a son or a cousin or an uncle who died in WWII. These days seem to me to be very personal in nature----we can honor those who have served, but I can't imagine it's the same as remembering a son or a father who died in the service of the country.

I for one am glad most of us have no personal connection to Memorial Day.


2008-05-27 12:06:12
8.   Sandus
I wonder if there is a group trying to get Christmas moved back to April.

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