Major League Baseball released a 2012 schedule this morning, with no changes in the division or league lineups, no expansion of wild cards in the playoffs and a regular season beginning with a Miami Marlins game on April 4.
Yes, that’s right: the Miami Marlins (nee the Florida Marlins) will open the 2012 MLB season at their new ballpark on Wednesday, April 4. It won’t be the first game there — the Marlins will play two exhibition games there on April 1-2 against the New York Yankees — but it will be a nice national showcase for a rebranded team playing in a new 37,000-seat retractable-roof ballpark.
There had been talk about one team — either the Arizona Diamondbacks or the Houston Astros — shifting to the American League West to balance the two leagues. The stalled sale of the Astros to Jim Crane — now seemingly on hold until some issues can be resolved — may be putting off that shift for a year, and it’s certainly not dead, though there’s not much enthusiasm among the ranks of owners, we’re told. We could also, theoretically, see an expansion of the playoffs announced in the offseason, but for now there’s nothing planned.
The regular season will end on Wednesday, Oct. 3. In theory, the playoffs could go until Nov. 1 if every series goes to the max.
On Thursday, April 5, six games are scheduled, including the Toronto Blue Jays visiting the Cleveland Indians; the Boston Red Sox visiting the Detroit Tigers; the Atlanta Braves visiting the New York Mets; the Washington Nationals visiting the Chicago Cubs; the Los Angeles Dodgers visiting the San Diego Padres; and the Philadelphia Phillies visiting the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ten games are scheduled for Friday, April 6. The first full slate of 15 games is scheduled for Saturday, April 7.
The 16th season of interleague play will feature many renewals of past World Series, including Reds-Yankees and Pirates-Tigers (starting May 18); Mets-Yankees, Phillies-Orioles, Astros-White Sox, Blue Jays-Braves, Tigers-Reds and Rangers-Giants (starting June 8); Yankees-Braves, Pirates-Orioles, Tigers-Cubs (starting June 11th/12); Phillies-Blue Jays, Red Sox-Cubs, Royals-Cardinals and White Sox-Dodgers (starting June 15); Cubs-White Sox, Giants-Angels, Braves-Yankees, Orioles-Mets and Dodgers-Athletics (June 18/19); and Cardinals-Royals, Giants-Athletics, Yankees-Mets, Rays-Phillies and Tigers-Pirates (starting June 22).
The first day of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft will be Monday, June 4. The 2012 All-Star Game, to be hosted by the Kansas City Royals, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 10 at Kauffman Stadium.
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