The Baseball Season is Just Around the Corner

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Two weeks ago, Punxsutawney Phil told us that spring was just around the corner, and in Florida and Arizona, we have visual evidence that he was right. Pitchers and catchers have been reporting to Spring Training this week, with the full squads set to join them after the weekend.

The Los Angeles Dodgers full squad is already in camp, and San Diego Padres players all arrived this Friday. That is because they begin the regular season a week before everyone else with a series in Seoul, South Korea.

Spring Training Games Begin

Just a few days after all players have reported to their respective Spring Training sites, the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues begin play. The first game will be held on Thursday, February 22nd, when the Dodgers take on the Padres.

Everyone else will begin play on Friday the 23rd or Saturday the 24th.

As part of Spring Training this year, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays will play a pair of games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on March 9 and 10.

Massachusetts online sportsbooks have the Red Sox as the longest shot to win the American League East at +1300. The Rays are fourth at +650. The New York Yankees are the favorite at +165, ahead of the Baltimore Orioles at +205.

Along with the two games in the Dominican Republic, we’ll see the first edition of MLB Spring Breakout. On March 14 to 17, there will be 16 exhibition games across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues featuring the top 20-25 prospects for each of the 30 organizations.

Regular Season Begins

Baseball’s official Opening Day is March 28, but the Dodgers and Padres will be in Seoul to play two games on March 20 and 21. These are the first regular season games that MLB has played in Korea, and the first international season-opener outside of the United States and Canada since the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s opened the 2019 season in Tokyo.

The Dodgers-Padres series was announced back in July, long before Shohei Ohtani was wearing Dodger blue. Having him make his Dodger debut at 3 a.m. Los Angeles time isn’t ideal. But for his fans in Japan, it will be a much-easier watch.

After the two games in Korea, the Dodgers and Padres will return to the U.S. for rest, and then an exhibition series against one another. And then they will join the rest of the league when all 30 teams open the season on March 28.

Baseball online sportsbooks have listed the Dodgers as the betting favorite to win the World Series. They are paying +350, and the Atlanta Braves are next at +450. The top American League team is the Houston Astros at +800.

Along with the games in Korea, Major League Baseball will make two other trips outside of the U.S. and Canada. On April 27 and 28, the Astros will play the Colorado Rockies in Mexico City. On June 8 and 9, MLB will return to London for two games between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

Pennsylvania retail sportsbooks have the Phillies as the third betting favorite to win the National League, trailing the Dodgers and Braves.

On June 20, the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants will play a game at Rickwood Field, which is the former home of the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues and the oldest professional ballpark in the United States.

July 12-16 is All-Star Week in Arlington, Texas, featuring the Futures Games, MLB Draft, Home Run Derby, and the 94th All-Star Game.

The final day of the regular season is September 29, and the playoffs are scheduled to begin October 1.

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