Opening day of the 2020 MLB season is almost upon us, and the anticipation is building for baseball fans. The season gets underway on March 26, which is the earliest opening day in league history (outside of games played abroad). While that means less waiting for fans, it also means time is running out to score cheap MLB opening day tickets. As the countdown continues, here’s everything you need to know about opening day and the season ahead.
Everyone’s In Action
Every opening day is special, but this year is extra special because it’s the first time since 1968 that every team will play its first game of the season on the same day. Obviously, that assumes no games will be postponed due to weather, which could be an issue with the season starting a little early. However, if the weather cooperates, fans will get to enjoy all 30 teams in action on opening day.
Old Faces in Strange Places
There was plenty of player movement during the winter, and opening day will be the first time fans will see big-time players suiting up for new teams, aside from spring training games. Gerrit Cole left the Astros for the Yankees, two teams that have battled in the ALCS twice in the last three seasons. Anthony Rendon left the world champion Nationals and moved across the country to the Angels. Zack Wheeler left the Mets and ended up with the division-rival Phillies. Madison Bumgarner is no longer with the Giants but remained in the NL West after signing with the Diamondbacks. There was also that little trade right before the start of spring training that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers. Not to be overshadowed, the likes of Corey Kluber and Starling Marte were also traded during the offseason and will be with new teams on opening day.
The New Skippers
Not only did a lot of players change teams during the offseason, but 10 teams hired a new manager over the winter. Proven vets like Joe Maddon, Dusty Baker, and Joe Girardi will all find themselves leading a different team on opening day. Meanwhile, opening day will be particularly special for Jayce Tingler of the Padres, David Ross of the Cubs, Derek Shelton of the Pirates, and Luis Rojas of the Mets, as all four will be making their official managerial debut on opening day.
Champs in Action
The Washington Nationals will begin their title defense away from home when they face the New York Mets at Citi Field on opening day. Unfortunately for the Nats, they won’t have their home crowd with them as they get one last moment to enjoy last season’s championship before the 2020 campaign officially begins. On top of that, the Nationals are likely to be facing Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who just so happens to have won the National League Cy Young the past two seasons. The kicker is that the Mets own the record on opening day in major league history, going 38-20 in season openers, including a 2-0 win over the Nationals on last year’s opening day.
Wait for the Jeers
After an offseason during which they were labeled as cheaters, the Houston Astros are likely to hear boos everywhere they go this season. The good news is that the club opens the 2020 season at home against the Angels. Despite losing Game 7 of the World Series last season on their home field, the Astros should receive a friendly welcome from the Houston faithful on opening day. However, the Astros need to be prepared to feel the wrath of fans in every other ballpark they play in this season as the visiting team. Fans aren’t going to take kindly to such a major scandal, and the Astros will start to find out just how upset they are when the club visits Oakland on Monday, March 30 for its first road game of 2020.
Don’t Forget the Bo Sox
The Boston Red Sox weren’t exactly an innocent party in the sign-stealing scandal that focused on the Astros. After all, they parted ways with manager Alex Cora, who was on Houston’s coaching staff when they won the World Series in 2017 by skirting the rules and then managed the Red Sox to their championship in 2018. The Red Sox may very well hear some boos when they head north of the border on opening day to take on the Toronto Blue Jays.
Contenders or Pretenders
To be fair, we’re not going to learn a whole lot about teams from opening day. Win or lose, everybody will have 161 more games to prove themselves. But it’ll be interesting to get a peek at some of the teams that were more active than most during the offseason. Teams like the Reds, White Sox, and Angels have all been losing clubs in recent years but made moves that have raised expectations considerably heading into 2020. After spending all of that money, their fanbases will be expecting a win on opening day. The situation is also similar for the Dodgers, who were quiet until trading for Betts right before spring training, and the Yankees, who added Cole to be their ace. Both teams are likely in World-Series-or-bust mode heading into the season, putting a fair amount of pressure on them to look like a championship contender on opening day.