The earlier opening to the 2018 MLB season is meant to add more open dates during the regular season, according to MLB officials. Basically, the regular season’s earlier opening replaces the last four days of spring training — a period when most teams are playing exhibition games against other MLB teams at home or away (like the Toronto Blue Jays playing in Montreal) or playing those final few games before breaking camp.
The earlier start date is part of the 2017-2021 Basic Agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). The new format extends the length of the season by adding an additional weekend of play at the beginning of the season. As a result, you’ll see three to four additional off days spread throughout the season, providing additional rest and opportunities for rescheduling.
The earliest opening date for a season at traditional Major League ballparks was previously March 30th, when the 2003, 2008 and 2014 seasons began.
This does not affect the beginning of the full-season Minor League Baseball season, set for a week later on April 5.
The final day of the 2018 regular season, featuring 12 divisional games, is scheduled for Sunday, September 30.
In another break from tradition, MLB is doings away with staggered starts to the season. The 2018 season will mark the first time since 1968 that every MLB team will open on the same date.