09/15/2010 10:10 AM ET
MLB announces 2011 regular season schedule
Thursday, March 31 will mark 2011 Opening Day; Red Sox and Cubs to play regular season games at Fenway Park for the first time ever
Major League Baseball today announced 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.
MLB adopted the recommendation of The Commissioner's Special Committee for On-Field Matters to begin the regular season earlier and mid-week to avoid playing World Series games in November. The change was made after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association.
"The challenges of our scheduling are considerable, but I shared the Committee's desire to make the necessary adjustments to assure that postseason baseball does not extend beyond October," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig.
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 '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.
Five games will be held on 2011 Opening Day on Thursday, March 31st, with the Milwaukee Brewers visiting the Cincinnati Reds; the Atlanta Braves visiting the Washington Nationals; the San Diego Padres visiting the St. Louis Cardinals; the Detroit Tigers visiting the New York Yankees; and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim visiting the Kansas City Royals. Eleven games, including 10 new series, are scheduled on Friday, April 1st and the first full slate of 15 games is scheduled for Saturday, April 2nd.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Cardinals on Friday, April 15th, which is designated as Jackie Robinson Day throughout Major League Baseball. 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 and the Chicago White Sox hosting the Dodgers at U.S. Cellular Field. The Cubs-Red Sox match-up, 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.