The 2018 MLB Season Will Have the Earliest Opening Day Ever
The 2017 MLB season has yet to come to a close (as much as the Dodgers probably wish it had), but it's never too early to take a look toward next year, with MLB and all 30 teams releasing the 2018 schedules for your frenzied consumption. The big takeaway: Opening Day has been moved up to late March—Thursday, March 29, to be exact—making it the earliest season opener in baseball history (leaving aside seasons with international openers in Japan or Australia). And unlike years past, where the league has staggered openers, every team will begin play on the same day, the first time that's happened since 1968.
The reason for the bump from April to March for Opening Day has to do with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which guaranteed the players three or four additional days off over the course of the season. As such, the season will also end a little earlier than in recent years, with every team's final game coming on Sunday, Sept. 30—which in turn means the World Series will wrap up in October instead of extending into early November.
Here are some other dates to note on the calendar:
• The Cardinals and Cubs will meet up on the Thursday of the All-Star break (July 19) for a game at Wrigley Field. Bad news for those players who lose a day off, good news for those of us who by that day of the break are going insane due to baseball withdrawal. That game replaces the Sunday night game going into the break, with the players getting that taken off the schedule as part of the CBA negotiations.
• All interleague games will be division vs. division—e.g., AL East vs. NL East, et cetera.
• The Twins and Indians will play a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 17–18, the first such regular-season series there since 2010. The Marlins and Pirates were scheduled to play there in 2016, but the Zika virus outbreak that year prompted MLB to move that matchup to Miami.
• Oakland's game against the White Sox on April 17 will be free to the public.
Each team has already released their schedule, so check out their Twitter accounts or team sites for more detailed info on when and where you can see your hometown nine.