Major League Baseball released its schedule for 2018, and for the first time ever, all 30 teams will be playing on Opening Day.
In recent years, MLB has opted to start things off with a small number of games on the first Sunday of April — there were three this year — before scheduling the rest of its teams to open the following Monday. Furthermore, several seasons have started off with March games held in overseas venues, like when the Dodgers took on the Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground back in 2014.
That means that in a season with an overseas opener, there could be three different Opening Days: official Opening Day, domestic Opening Day and the day after domestic Opening Day, when most teams play their first game. That’s gratuitous, even for the most rabid baseball fans.
Thankfully, MLB changed its approach for the 2018 schedule, which will feature a full slate of 15 games on the first official day of the season. The last time an Opening Day featured every team in action was in 1968, when there were only 20 teams, so this is a truly unprecedented move.
The simplification of Opening Day isn’t the only big change to the schedule. The 2018 season will kick off on March 29, giving it the earliest start in the history of the league (excluding special international games). The early kickoff will provide teams with three to four extra rest days spread throughout the season.
Another big change will come just after the All-Star break, when two of the game’s fiercest rivals, the Cubs and Cardinals, will square off on July 19. The Wednesday and Thursday after the All-Star Game are traditionally baseball-free, but the season will resume one day early next year.
Only time will tell if these changes become permanent fixtures on the MLB schedule, but getting the Opening Day confusion cleared up should be a huge positive. Check out the full schedule right here.
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