Baseball fans are striking out with their petition for President Obama to declare Major League Baseball’s Opening Day a national holiday.
In a response, White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest writes that although presidents have celebrated Opening Day for more than a century, the request is “a little outside our strike zone.”
“Creating permanent federal holidays is traditionally the purview of Congress,” Earnest writes. “So, it's up to the men and women on Capitol Hill to decide whether to swing at this pitch.”
More than 100,000 people had signed the White House petition, which said that Opening Day “is more than just the beginning of the season.”
“It’s a symbol of rebirth,” the petition reads. “The coming of spring. The return of America's national pastime. It’s a state of mind where anything is possible. You can feel the electricity in the air. Opening Day brings with it the promise of a new beginning. Every fan is in good spirits. It’s a day of celebration. It’s a day of hope. It’s a day that, for generations, has been looked forward to by baseball fans every off-season.“
Obama on Tuesday will honor the 2013 World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, at the White House.
“Meanwhile, I'll spend that day visualizing what it would be like to welcome my 2014 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals to the White House,” Earnest, a lifelong Kansas City Royals fan, writes. “That is, after all, the best part of Opening Day: every team is tied for first place and poised to make a run at the Fall Classic.”