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MLB announces tentative 2016 schedule

MLB.com @Marathoner

Major League Baseball on Tuesday released its tentative 2016 regular-season schedule, starting with the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game on April 3 with a matchup to be announced, and then featuring 13 games on the first convergence of Opening Day and Square Root Day: April 4, 2016.

The 13 games on that first Monday include the traditional opener at Cincinnati (against Philadelphia), as well as six divisional matchups and an Interleague contest between the host Royals and the Mets. Eight games are scheduled for Tuesday, April 5, and the first full slate of 15 contests is scheduled for the next day.

Major League Baseball on Tuesday released its tentative 2016 regular-season schedule, starting with the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game on April 3 with a matchup to be announced, and then featuring 13 games on the first convergence of Opening Day and Square Root Day: April 4, 2016.

The 13 games on that first Monday include the traditional opener at Cincinnati (against Philadelphia), as well as six divisional matchups and an Interleague contest between the host Royals and the Mets. Eight games are scheduled for Tuesday, April 5, and the first full slate of 15 contests is scheduled for the next day.

Day-by-day tentative 2016 schedule

The regular season will finish on a Sunday, Oct. 2. Other important dates next season include Jackie Robinson Day on Friday, April 15; Mother's Day on May 8 and Father's Day on June 19; and the first day of the 2016 MLB Draft on Thursday, June 9.

The 2016 season will mark the 20th year of Interleague Play, which changed the game and sparked record crowds. The Padres will visit the Blue Jays for the first time from July 25-27, the only location-specific Interleague matchup that hasn't taken place since the format was implemented in 1997. San Diego will also host the 87th All-Star Game on July 12.

The core Interleague rotation will be AL East vs. NL West, AL Central vs. NL East and AL West vs. NL Central. Each team will play 20 Interleague games, 12.3 percent of the schedule.

The Cubs will open on the road for the 11th time in the past 15 seasons, and for the first time will begin a season with Interleague Play. The Cubs open a season in the state of California for the first time since 1984, when they started off in San Francisco. The Cubs last opened a season in Los Angeles in 1960 against the Dodgers.

Boston will play its first-ever regular-season opener in Cleveland, the same city in which the Red Sox will end their 2015 campaign. Boston has previously started its season against the Indians three times, all at Fenway Park, in 1962, 1977 and, most recently, 1979.

It will be like old times for the Astros, as they face former NL Central opponents for the first time since moving into the AL. The Reds (June 17-19) Cubs (Sept. 9-11) and Cardinals (Aug. 16-17) all will return to Minute Maid Park for the first time since 2013, and the Astros will also take on the Brewers and Pirates on the road.

The Pirates will open the 2016 season at home against the Cardinals, pitting two of the teams currently battling for the National League Central title, and those clubs also will close the season with a series, this time in St. Louis. Meanwhile, the electric Giants-Dodgers rivalry will close out the regular season on Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Los Angeles.

Anniversaries in 2016 will include: Mookie Wilson's 1986 World Series Game 6 dribbler through Bill Buckner's legs and the Mets' championship (beating Boston in 7); the Cardinals' 2006 World Series title in the first year of the new Busch Stadium; the last repeat titles by an NL club (1975-76 Reds); a quarter-century since the Twins won it all; the 60th anniversary of Don Larsen's unmatched World Series perfect game; Enos Slaughter's "Mad Dash" in the 1946 World Series for St. Louis; the 50th anniversary of Sandy Koufax's last -- and winningest (27) -- season; and the start of the Yankee dynasty managed by Joe Torre.

In one of the oddest anniversaries, the Braves will play their final season at Turner Field on the 20th anniversary of their final season at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The Braves are scheduled to start the 2017 season in the new SunTrust Park.

For math buffs, it will be the first meeting of Opening Day and Square Root Day, as the 1916 season started on April 12. The last time Square Root Day occurred during a baseball season was on Sept. 9, 1981, when it was first acknowledged and celebrated by a California high school teacher, and the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the World Series the next month. The Yankees were the last to win a World Series during a year in which there was a Square Root Day (March 3, 2009).

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.