Major League Baseball today announced the game times for its master 2011 regular season schedule, which will begin on Thursday, March 31st. The final day of the 2011 regular season is scheduled for Wednesday, September 28th.
The 2011 opener will mark the first time that traditional Opening Day throughout Major League Baseball, excluding special international events, has not been held on a Sunday or a Monday since the 1998 season began on Tuesday, March 31st. The last regular season to begin on a Thursday was in 1976, when Opening Day was April 8th. In addition to â€™76, the only other seasons to have started on a Thursday were in the following years: 1901-1904, 1907, 1912, 1959 and 1973-74.
The last regular season to end as early as September 28th occurred in 2003, which ended on Sunday, September 28th. The last time that a season was scheduled to end on a day other than a Sunday came in 1990, when the regular season concluded on Wednesday, October 3rd.
Six games will be held on 2011 Opening Day on Thursday, March 31st, highlighted by ESPNâ€™s national broadcast of an 8:00 p.m. (ET) game between the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
The Giants and Dodgers franchises have met on Opening Day 28 times since 1900, with the Giants holding a 15-13 edge in those meetings between the historic franchises. The Dodgers won the most recent Opening Day contest, a 5-0 victory on March 31, 2008 at Dodger Stadium.
Opening Day will also mark the start of ESPNâ€™s 22nd season televising Major League Baseball. The Giants-Dodgers game will be called by Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine, and will also be available via ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV.
The game between the National League West rivals will conclude ESPNâ€™s Opening Day triple-header, with earlier coverage that includes the Detroit Tigers visiting the New York Yankees at 1:00 p.m. (ET) and the San Diego Padres visiting the St. Louis Cardinals at 4:00 p.m. (ET). The other March 31st contests will feature the Milwaukee Brewers visiting the Cincinnati Reds; the Atlanta Braves visiting the Washington Nationals; and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim visiting the Kansas City Royals. Eleven games will be played on Friday, April 1st, including the start of nine new series. The first full slate of 15 games is scheduled for Saturday, April 2nd.
The June 24th-26th series between the Seattle Mariners and the Florida Marlins, which had been scheduled to be played in Miami, has been moved to Seattleâ€™s Safeco Field because of a scheduling conflict at Sun Life Stadium. The entire three-game series will be played with the Marlins as the home team, batting last, and under National League rules.
Among the other highlights of the 2011 regular season:
The Dodgers will host the Cardinals at 10:10 p.m. (ET)/7:10 p.m. (PT) on Friday, April 15th, which is designated as Jackie Robinson Day throughout Major League Baseball.
On Sunday, May 15th, the Braves will host the Philadelphia Phillies in a 1:35 p.m. (ET) contest that will mark the fifth annual Civil Rights Game.
Many natural rivalries will be played as Interleague Play commences on Friday, May 20th, when other highlights will include the Boston Red Sox hosting the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park at 7:10 p.m. (ET) and the Chicago White Sox hosting the Dodgers at U.S. Cellular Field at 8:10 p.m. (ET)/7:10 p.m. (CT). The match-up between the Cubs and the Red Sox, a renewal of the 1918 World Series, will mark the first regular season games ever between the two clubs to be held at Fenway Park.
The 2011 All-Star Game, to be hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12th at Chase Field in Phoenix.
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Source: Major League Baseball
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