1 series for each team to look forward to in '19
It is not too early -- it is never too early -- to start combing through the 2019 MLB schedule. We are, after all, exactly two months, today, away from the start of the season. It is so close now.
So, today we're going to help you out with your travel schedule. We're going to look at the spotlight series for each team this year, the one you won't want to miss. The one parameter: Each individual series can only be picked once, even though there are two teams playing in it. All games on a 162-game schedule are equal. But these are more equal than others.
American League East
Blue Jays: vs. Yankees, June 4-6
Can you believe Rogers Centre -- originally known as SkyDome -- is 30 years old? It's true, the first game at the venue was on June 5, 1989, with the Brewers (then in the AL East) beating the Blue Jays, 5-3. What was once the future of ballparks is now the seventh-oldest stadium in the sport. Here's a chance to appreciate it.
Orioles: vs. Yankees, April 4-7
It's going to be a long year in Baltimore, but one thing Orioles faithful need to do is show up for the home opener against the Yanks. The last thing you want is an invading fan base to take over your stadium on Opening Day. If Manny Machado signs with a team that the O's play this year, that probably becomes the answer here. Who knows? Maybe it will be the Yankees.
Rays: at Giants, April 5-7
Any Rays fan still adjusting to the sight of Evan Longoria in a Giants uniform will get a reunion in San Francisco's home opener, the first time Longoria will face the team he played with for 10 years.
Red Sox: vs. Dodgers, July 12-14
The rare World Series rematch. Plus, hey, Joe Kelly's back!
Yankees: vs. Red Sox in London, June 29-30
The most American of all sports rivalries takes place overseas, in the first London Series. The first game starts at 1:10 p.m. ET, so you don't even have to get up early!
Indians: vs. Phillies, Sept. 20-22
The All-Star Game is in Cleveland in July, but keep an eye on this late-season series against the Phillies, the final home games for the Tribe during the season.
Royals: vs. Mets, Aug. 16-18
The Royals won the World Series not that long ago, though it doesn't feel that way. They and the Mets are both dramatically different squads since the 2015 Fall Classic, but the memories remain.
Tigers: vs. Royals in Omaha, June 13
This is the first MLB game to be played in Nebraska, and it will precede this year's College World Series. The Tigers' lineup might be only a little bit older than the college lineups.
Twins: vs. Nationals, Sept. 10-12
It's always nice to see Washingtons, both old and current, face off. Next year, it will be 60 years since the Twins left Washington.
White Sox: vs. Cubs, July 6-7
July 4 is on a Thursday this year, which means most of the United States will, essentially, have a four-day weekend. Perfect time for a Crosstown Series.
Angels: vs. Astros in Monterrey, Mexico, May 4-5
How nice of the schedule-makers to share a Mike Trout series with Mexico. This is actually one of three series being played in Monterrey this year (Rockies-Diamondbacks on March 9-10 during Spring Training and Cardinals-Reds on April 13-14).
Astros: vs. Cubs, May 27-29
The teams are similarly constructed, recent World Series champions, and, oh yeah, were once NL Central rivals.
A's: vs. Mariners in Tokyo, March 20-21
It's the season opener, and though the Mariners have a more traditional Japanese connection, the A's are the home team. Get up early for that 5:35 a.m. ET start. These could be the last two chances that baseball fans get to see Ichiro Suzuki on the field, and that's reason enough for anyone to tune in.
Mariners: at Cubs, Sept. 2-3
Seattle has two different series with the Cubs this year, one in Seattle and one in Chicago. There's never a bad time to see Wrigley Field.
Rangers: vs. Yankees, Sept. 27-29
If the Rangers don't make the postseason, these are the final three games at Globe Life Park before the new Globe Life Field opens in 2020.
National League East
Braves: at Mets, Sept. 27-29
This is the final series of the season in a highly competitive division. It seems fitting to end it in Queens, the site of so many big Braves moments.
Marlins: at Nationals, July 2-4
A few teams are off for July 4 this year, but not only do the Marlins play, they get to play in the nation's capital.
Mets: vs. Braves, June 28-30
This is the big "Miracle Mets" celebration weekend, honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1969 World Series champions. (You may remember them from "Mad Men.")
Nationals: vs. D-backs, June 13-16
The real answer here is: The first series against Bryce Harper's new team if he signs elsewhere. Until we know if that's happening, we'll go with Patrick Corbin's first chance to pitch against his former team. It's a four-game set with a day off before it starts, so it's likely he'll take the mound.
Phillies: vs. Braves, March 28-30
The Phillies open the season against the rival Braves, but even though the teams play 19 games in 2019, they won't meet again after this until June 14.
Brewers: at Reds, Sept. 24-26
These are the final NL Central games of the year, against a team that has really improved and yet still might be the least talented in the division. In this tightly contested division, Milwaukee will need every one of these wins.
Cardinals: vs. Angels, June 21-23
Amazingly, Albert Pujols has still not played a game at Busch Stadium since signing with the Angels after the 2011 season. If he's healthy in June, that will finally change in one of the most highly anticipated regular-season Cardinals series in recent memory.
Cubs: at Cardinals, Sept. 27-29
A heated series between hated rivals on the last weekend of the season at Busch Stadium? Yes, please.
Pirates: vs. Cubs Aug. 16-17 and in Williamsport, Pa., Aug. 18
The Pirates are back in Williamsport for the Little League Classic. And the Pirates' Players Weekend jerseys always look great.
Reds: vs. Angels, Aug. 5-6
How often do the Reds get to see Trout in town? For that matter, how about their old tormentor Pujols?
D-backs: vs. Cardinals, Sept. 23-25
It'll take most of the season, but eventually, D-backs fans will get the opportunity to see Paul Goldschmidt at their park again.
Dodgers: vs. Yankees, Aug. 23-25
It has been nearly 40 years since a Yankees-Dodgers World Series. It'll always still feel like the default World Series to many.
Giants: vs. Dodgers, Sept. 27-29
We'll see where the Giants are when the season ends, but no matter what, they'll enjoy trying to knock the Dodgers around on the final weekend.
Padres: at Yankees, May 27-29
The Padres haven't been to the new Yankee Stadium yet, but their fans remember playing in their most recent World Series at the old one back in 1998.
Rockies: vs. Red Sox, Aug. 27-28
The Rockies get the defending champs, a team that has won two more World Series since they clinched the 2007 title in Colorado.