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Ozzie Smith, Clydesdales visit downtown Chandler

Source: The Santan Sun
By: Tracy House

Ozzie Smith in Chandler AZ Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith takes center stage in downtown Chandler. Smith filmed a commercial to promote the petition to make MLB Opening Day a national holiday. STSN photo by Tracy House

Downtown Chandler was transformed into a production set when Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith and the world-renowned Budweiser Clydesdales, with a little help from Coach and Willie’s, worked to persuade baseball fans to sign a petition to make Opening Day a holiday.

Fans lined up along Boston Street outside Coach and Willie’s as eight majestic Budweiser Clydesdales were secured to the Budweiser coach and special guest Smith took the infamous horses around downtown Chandler for the filming of the commercial.

Smith explains “We’ve had some surveys done and there are 22 million Americans that have played hooky from school or work and it really is an unofficial holiday that we’re trying to make an official holiday by getting 100,000 signatures.

“We’re halfway there after about a week of starting the campaign. So we feel pretty good about our chances of making it. When you get 100,000 signatures on any proposition then you can take it to D.C. and they have to take a look at it.”

The first video is posted at budweiser.com and the newest video shot in Chandler is due out the week of March 17th.

“(We’re) just making our trips around the country to try to drum up support for this and if this is any indication of how people feel about it, then we’ll do pretty well,” Smith says of the turnout in Chandler.

Smith says that Opening Day “was my life”. “It became a trademark strictly by accident but it was one of those things people looked forward to,” Smith says. “It meant the start of a new season and, for most fans, it’s all about optimism. After you come out of Spring Training you get to Opening Day, it’s a new slate and you can start anew and the promise of what the season could be. This could be that magical year. That’s what it’s all about”.

Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002, Osborne Earl Smith also known as “The Wizard of Oz”, played for the San Diego Padres and the St. Louis Cardinals, retiring in 1996. The acrobatic shortstop, known for his backflips, is a 13-time Golden Glove Award winner with more than 2,400 hits and 500 stolen bases in his 19-year career. More information about Smith can be found at www.ozziesmith.com/bio.

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