Good Friday opener draws criticism

Updated: March 25, 2009, 1:30 PM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers have upset some Roman Catholics who are unhappy that the club's home opener is scheduled during holy hours on Good Friday.

Traditional Christian belief says Jesus hung on the cross from noon to 3 p.m. on Good Friday.

All 30 American and National League teams play April 10, but the Tigers' 1:05 p.m. game against the Texas Rangers is the only one during those hours.

"It's sort of an insult for Catholics," said Michael Ochab, a 47-year-old Tigers fan. He said he'll miss his first opener in 20 years this year to attend services at St. Florian Catholic Church in Hamtramck. "I'm still hoping the Tigers will change the time."

Tigers spokesman Ron Colangelo said Major League Baseball has a "monumental task" putting together a season's schedule. Detroit's climate makes a night game unrealistic this time of year, Colangelo told the Detroit Free Press.

"Fans have come to know that our home opener is always a day game," he said.

The Rev. Ed Vilkauskas of downtown Detroit's St. Mary's Catholic Church said the game at nearby Comerica Park will keep people from services.

"Nobody is saying baseball isn't big, but Good Friday is really big," Vilkauskas told The Detroit News. "It's 2,000 years old."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press