The rule of thumb, especially in baseball, is don't look too far ahead, especially when you're this close to the playoffs. However that rule may have an exception, as Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday its tentative schedule for 2014. And two teams will start their season in another continent.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will kick off the 2014 campaign on March 22, with two games set in Sydney, Australia. This will be the sixth time that MLB has opened its season outside of its normal boundaries. Tokyo (1999), Japan (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012), and San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001) have all hosted a season opener. That series will run March 22-23.
One week later, the regular season will kick off for the rest of the league as ESPN will kick off their 25th season of "Sunday Night Baseball" on March 30. From there, it's on to Opening Day, where there will be 14 games on the menu. There will be several divisional matchups to open the season, including a key NL Central showdown between the Reds and Cardinals in Cincinnati. It will mark the 145th season for the Reds. Here's a sample of some of the Opening Day games that fans will see:
- Philadelpha at Texas
- Atlanta at Milwaukee
- Colorado at Miami
- Cleveland at Oakland.
The Houston Astros will have their home opener on Tuesday, April 1, as they host the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park. It's a big game for the Yankees, as it will start the post-Mariano Rivera era. No other Yankees will ever wear the #42 jersey after this season. The number was retired in 1997 throughout the league to honor Jackie Robinson, but Rivera was wearing it before the retirement, and will be the last player to grace the number.
The final scheduled day of 2014 will be Sunday, September 28, and will lead into a postseason that features 12 divisional games. Other important dates on the calendar next year include:
- April 15 - Jackie Robinson Day
- June 5 - First day of the MLB Draft
- July 15 - 85th All-Star Game at Target Field (Minneapolis)
Interleague play will once again take place throughout the season, thanks to the Houston Astros being relocated to the American League prior to the start of this season. Teams will rotate play against divisions every year, and those matchups will change again next year. The NL East will face the AL West, the NL West vs. AL Central, and NL Central vs. AL east.
Fans will also continue to enjoy huge rivalry series that they saw this year. As you'll see below, each four-game series will be split between locations:
- Reds vs. Indians - August 4-5 at Cleveland, August 6-7 at Cincinnati
- Cubs vs. White Sox - May 5-6 at Wrigley Field, May 7-8 at US Cellular Field
- Mets vs. Yankees - May 12-13 at Citi Field, May 13-14 at Yankee Stadium
- A's vs. Giants - June 7-8 in Oakland, Jun 9-10 in San Francisco
There will also be plenty of interesting series to watch next season, as we will see a rematch of the 2012 World Series when the Giants travel to Detroit in September. The Yankees will make their the first trip to St. Louis in 50 years, as they face the Cardinals for the first time since a heartbreaking Game 7 loss in the World Series. And the Pirates will visit Tampa Bay for the first time since 2003.
There will be plenty of action to be seen next year. The dates listed here are tentative and subject to change, but the official schedule (with home an road start times) will be released sometime in January.