We missed Opening Day.

At least, some of us did.

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day was “postponed,’’ according to MLB, due to a work-stoppage, the first time since the strike of 1994 to lead to the cancellation of regular-season games.

The Owners and the Players’ Association continue to talk, and MLB continues to say they can still get the entire 162-game regular season. Commissioner Rob Manfred canceled the first week of the regular season Tuesday after the sides failed to reach a new deal in negotiations that have been ongoing since Dec. 2.

It all comes down to what it always comes down to: money. I've covered sports labor disputes before. If you want the details, watch SportsCenter.

One of my best friends just came back from a trip to Florida. He went for two reasons: one, to go with his wife for some kind of Pickleball tournament; two, to watch some spring baseball. He loves baseball and has made a spring baseball trek with regularity for as long as I have known him.

This time, with no baseball, it was Pickleball – 12 hours of Pickleball in one day.

“I can do that for baseball,’’ he said. “But 12 hours of Pickleball?  … Not so much.”

Honestly, I don’t watch regular-season baseball as much as I used to. Opening Day, the All-Star Game, and the post-season are ‘can’t miss’ for me.

But like too many sports fans in a world where games are constantly being adjusted to fit a television broadcast time frame, watching regular-season baseball has become too time-consuming.

Baseball has never been slower. I read somewhere that last year it took, on average, three hours and 11 minutes - a record - to play a game, and it’s not like the game is getting longer because of more action. A recent Sports Illustrated story documented that the average wait to see a ball put in play has steadily increased and is now four minutes, seven seconds. That’s a lot of ‘dead time’ for a culture that has become addicted to shot clocks and game clocks and even ‘pace of play’ in golf (On the PGA Tour, players are advised they have 40 seconds to hit a shot from when it's their turn). “Deadtime” in baseball means fewer balls in play, fewer hits, more defensive shifts and more pitching changes.

Baseball is too expansive in size of field, and too subtle in terms of strategy, to communicate effectively on TV. It is the most analyzed game that I can think of – maybe over-analyzed – and all of that thinking doesn’t translate into action for our short-attention-span culture. As Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher once said, “Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.”

For all of its faults as a TV game, going to a baseball game – actually sitting in the stands, with friends and a hot dog and a beverage – is more fun than football or basketball. There is tension, suspense, yet still time for conversation and contemplation and keeping a detailed scorecard without missing a play; to stand up when the game gets exciting and to sit back and relax and talk about what just happened (or didn’t happen) when the inning is over.

It's so true that it’s become a cliché, but sports brings people together.  Despite MLB’s lockout, in ballparks all over America people are coming together to watch their kids or grandkids or friends play. I coached my sons in it, and made friends with other parents and coaches that I would not normally have ever had the chance to know, people who socialized in different circles, who worked in different professions, who lived in different neighborhoods; people of different races with whom I would probably never have gotten to know any other way and with whom, all these years later, I can run into at a random store and we still greet each other like it was only yesterday rather than all those years ago because of the endless evenings and Saturdays we spent together at the ballpark.

I grew up going to Atlanta Braves games with my best friend, Mitch. Neither of us lives in Atlanta anymore, but we still text back and forth with fervor during Braves games. If Verizon still charged by the character, the company would have made a fortune on us during the World Series.

Sometimes it feels like Major League Baseball is trying to commit suicide – again, as it did first in the 1970s, then again in the 1980s, and in the mid-‘90s.

But somehow the baseball gods seem to intervene as if to say, “you won’t kill off the game that easily’’ and create some compelling storyline that keeps fans coming back.

I am long past being able to play baseball, but I still have my glove. I am long past being a kid, but I have carried my box of baseball cards from the 1960s with me through every move I have made, to college, to new jobs, to marriage, to new houses.

During World War II, baseball was promoted as the best way for Americans to relax, to make them forget all the trouble in the world for two or three hours.

Maybe that’s what’s really at the heart of all this anxiety Americans feel these days – we don’t watch enough baseball.

Only now, it’s not our fault.

Ray Melick is Editor-in-Chief of 1819 News. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.