Major League Baseball today announced its master 2019 Major League regular season schedule, which will begin with the 2019 Japan Opening Series, featuring the Oakland Athletics hosting the Seattle Mariners at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on March 20th-21st. Traditional Opening Day, featuring all 30 Major League Clubs, will
Major League Baseball today announced its master 2019 Major League regular season schedule, which will begin with the 2019 Japan Opening Series, featuring the Oakland Athletics hosting the Seattle Mariners at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on March 20th-21st. Traditional Opening Day, featuring all 30 Major League Clubs, will take place on Thursday, March 28th.
The 2019 season will mark the second season under the scheduling format agreed to as part of the 2017-2021 Basic Agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). The format, which extends the length of the season by adding an additional weekend of play at the beginning of the season, gives each Club three to four additional off days throughout the season to provide added rest and opportunities for rescheduling. As a result, the March 28th start date to the 2019 regular season will mark the earliest Opening Day in Major League history, excluding special season-openers at international venues. The opening date eclipses the 2018 opening date of March 29th as the earliest. Prior to 2018, the earliest opening date for a season at traditional Major League ballparks was March 30th, when the 2003, 2008 and 2014 seasons began.
For the second consecutive year, all 30 Major League Clubs are scheduled to play on Opening Day. The 2018 campaign had been scheduled to be the first season since 1968 that every team across the Majors opened on the same date, before two weather-related postponements allowed for just 13 of the 15 scheduled games to be played. The 1968 campaign began on Wednesday, April 10th with each of the 20 Major League Clubs in action. Additionally, the 2019 season will mark the second straight season, and the 13th campaign in history, to open on a Thursday. Other seasons to do so include 1901-04, 1907, 1912, 1959, 1973-74, 1976 and 2011.
Opening Day will feature 10 divisional match-ups among the 15 games, in addition to an Interleague contest between the host Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs. Eight games are scheduled for Friday, March 29th, and slates of 15 games are scheduled for both Saturday, March 30th and Sunday, March 31st.
Interleague Play throughout the season will feature the AL East vs. NL West, AL Central vs. NL East and AL West vs. NL Central, in addition to Interleague contests played between prime rivals. Notable series feature renewals of four World Series matchups since the turn of the century, including Arizona Diamondbacks-New York Yankees (April 30th-May 1st at Chase Field and July 30th-31st at Yankee Stadium); Boston Red Sox-Colorado Rockies (May 14th-15th at Fenway Park and August 27th-28th at Coors Field); St. Louis Cardinals-Texas Rangers (May 17th-19th at Globe Life Park in Arlington); and Kansas City Royals-New York Mets (August 16th-18th at Kauffman Stadium).
In addition to the Japan Opening Series, other highlights of the 2019 schedule include:
• Ten games scheduled for Jackie Robinson Day on Monday, April 15th, including the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium.
• The first day of the 2019 MLB Draft on Monday, June 3rd, when just three Major League games are scheduled to be played.
• The first Major League game ever played in Nebraska, part of the new GEICO Summer Series, featuring the host Royals and the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, June 13th, two days prior to the start of the 2019 NCAA Men's College World Series.
• The Los Angeles Angels will visit the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium from June 21st-23rd, marking Albert Pujols' return to St. Louis for the first time as a visiting player.
• A split doubleheader on Saturday, June 29th between the host San Francisco Giants and Diamondbacks at AT&T Park.
• An historic two-game set at London Stadium on June 29th-30th between the host Red Sox and Yankees in the first-ever Major League games played in Europe.
• The 90th All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 9th at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
• The Rangers will host their AL West Division-rival Houston Astros in the only Major League game played on Thursday, July 11th, following the All-Star break.
• The Los Angeles Dodgers will visit Fenway Park for a three-game series from July 12th-14th. It marks the third-ever regular season trip to Boston by the Dodgers, and the first since June 2010.
• The third annual Little League Classic presented by GEICO on Sunday, August 18th, featuring the host Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cubs at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, PA, home of the Little League World Series.
• The final day of the 2019 regular season on Sunday, September 29th, featuring 12 divisional games, as well as the final Rangers home game at Globe Life Park in Arlington as they square off against the Yankees.