Ozzie Smith, Budweiser team up on campaign to make baseball's Opening Day a national holiday

With the National Football League enjoying record success, it's debatable whether baseball remains "America's Pastime."

That's not stopping Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith from spearheading an effort to make Major League Baseball's Opening Day a national holiday, however.

The lifelong St. Louis Cardinal, known for his Wizard-like defensive skills and fun-loving acrobatics, told the MLB Network Tuesday about an honest-to-goodness petition to make the day a reality.

"There's 22 million people who have, at some point in time, played hooky from work or school, so it's already an unofficial holiday," Smith said via video chat. "We're just trying to make it an official holiday by getting those 100,000 signatures so I can march them up to the front of the White House."

And while Smith's partner -- Budweiser, in case you missed the product placement in the video -- makes the move look a bit like a publicity stunt, the petition is real, with signatures piling up fast.

More than 12,000 people had signed the whitehouse.gov petition by 5 p.m Tuesday. Only 88,000 more by March 26 and an official White House response will be given.

How White House petitions work

This year's Opening Day is a bit trickier than in year's past, with MLB's Australian debut coming March 22-23 when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks play in Sydney. The official Opening Day for 2014 is March 31.

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