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George Postolos Resigns as President and CEO of Houston Astros PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 13 May 2013 14:03

Astros

The Houston Astros have announced that George Postolos has resigned as President and CEO of the club. Postolos was cited as being instrumental in working with Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane and his group in the purchase of the Astros, had been Astros President and CEO since November of 2011. He worked for seven years with Crane to acquire a sports franchise.

“I am very proud of what Jim accomplished with my help – acquiring a major league franchise with a strong and diverse ownership group, developing and implementing a good plan for the team’s future, and assembling a first rate management team,” Postolos said. “I look forward to helping other investors pursue their objectives in sports knowing that Jim and the Astros organization are off to a great start and well positioned for future success.” 

Postolos will be returning to his consulting practice advising investors on acquisitions and strategy in major league sports. There is currently no information on a successor or plans to search for one, although the possibility is there that it could happen in the coming days. A looming question that will inevitably surface is the status of former Astros and Rangers Hall of Fame pitcher, Nolan Ryan. Ryan, who was reportedly on the edge of resigning from the Rangers as CEO after the  Rangers promoted general manager Jon Daniels and Rick George, said just after the start of the season that he was staying with the organization, but it’s unclear what—if anything—was done to make that contractually binding.

During his tenure with the Astros, Postolos spearheaded several changes within the organization, including the Astros overall rebranding process, which included new team uniforms, colors and logos. Postolos also revamped the marketing and foundation departments and emphasized the importance of feedback from Astros fans, taking part in several face-to-face meetings with Astros season ticket holders and long-time fans. 

Under his guidance, the Astros nearly tripled the size of the ticket sales staff dedicated to providing relationship-based services to their clients.

“We appreciate George’s hard work in the acquisition of the Astros and his commitment to the organization,” Crane said. “I’d also like to personally thank him for the assistance that he has provided to me over the last several years and wish him the best of luck in the future.” 

More details as they become available.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Why the Miami Marlins Could See a Historic Attendance Plunge PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 06 May 2013 13:31

Jeffrey Loria

Today on Baseball Prospectus, I delve into the Miami Marlins self-inflicted attendance woes (see Bizball: The Marlins Sinking Attendance). The early decline could rate as historic by the end of the season as they could challenge the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the worst attendance decline in the second year of a new ballpark. As I write for BP:

In poll after poll, column after column, Jeffrey Loria is ranked as the worst owner in all of North American professional sports.

Loria is bad for fans, but he treats himself and the partners in the club well. He and club president David Samson were able to bamboozle politicians and taxpayers in Miami-Dade County to the tune of $500 million for a brand-spanking-new ballpark on the former site of the Orange Bowl. They opened up last season in that freshly minted stadium after being the darlings of the 2011 Baseball Winter Meetings, at which they signed SS Jose Reyes to a six-year, $106 million deal, starter Mark Buehrle to a four-year, $58 million contract; and closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million deal with an option for 2015. All told, the Marlins splurged $191 million at the meetings, and it could have been more, as it looked for bit like they were going after Albert Pujols. Imagine that.

In mid-November of last year, the club promptly moved Reyes (2013: $10M, 2014: $16M, 2015: $22M, 2016: $22M, 2017: $22M, 2018: $22M club option with $4M buyout), Josh Johnson (2013: $13.75M), Buehrle (2013: $11M, 2014: $18M, 2015: $19M plus a $4M deferred signing bonus), John Buck (2013: $6M), and Emilio Bonifacio (who is arbitration eligible this year), and $4 million (or potentially more) in cash to the Blue Jays for Yunel EscobarHenderson AlvarezAdeiny HechavarriaJeff Mathis, minor-league pitchers Justin Nicolino and Anthony Desclafani, and minor-league outfielderJake Marisnick. All told, the Marlins stripped $163.75 million off the books, and the baseball world screamed “fire sale” at a club that at one point was featured on Showtime’s “The Franchise” and had Ozzie Guillen as its manager. Loria had done what Loria had always done before: make rash decisions, all of which soil any chance of creating goodwill in the community. And the Marlins, in their best Stuart Smalley, looked at themselves in the mirror and said, “Doggone it, people like me.”

With that as the backdrop, I made some predictions before the season started on Twitter that weren’t that much of a leap to make. I said the Marlins wouldn’t sell out a single game this season (since Opening Day wasn’t a sellout, chances are good they won’t get one going forward), and added that they would see largest drop in attendance for a second-year ballpark among all MLB stadiums built in the last 25 years.

As of today, the decline would be 31 percent below what the club ended with last season. But, they are currently averaging 18,864. As of May 5 of last season, they were averaging 30,681, down 11,817 from the previous year, or a decline of 39 percent.

So, it’s very possible the Marlins could end worse than the Rays. It’s early, and anything could happen, but odds are good the Marlins aren’t going to get any better in the standings and Loria certainly didn’t make any extra friends in the offseason.

Below shows every new ballpark built under the Selig tenure. It shows the average attendance prior to the new ballpark opening in the old ballpark; average attendance in the first year of the new ballpark; the winning percentage in the first year of the ballpark; average attendance in the second year of the new ballpark, and finally; the percentage of increase or decrease from the opening year in the new ballpark. As of now, the Marlins are averaging just 92 more per game than their last year in Sun Life Stadium that they shared with the Miami Dolphins, was never designed for baseball, and had no roof.

Club

Ballpark

Year Opened

Yr Prior Attendance

Yr. 1 Avg

Winning % (Yr 1)

Yr. 2 Attendance

% (+/-) Yr 1 to Yr 2

Notes

White Sox

U.S. Cellular Field

1991

25,029

36,224

.537

32,697

-10%


Orioles

Oriole Park

1992

31,515

44,047

.549

45,000

2%


Indians

Jacobs Field

1994

26,888

39,121

.584

39,483

1%


Rangers

Ballpark in Arlington

1994

27,711

39,733

.456

27,582

-31%

First place in AL West before work stoppage

Rockies

Coors Field

1995

N/A

47,084

.535

48,037

2%

NL WC

Braves

Turner Field

1996

35,818

42,771

.593

41,492

-3%

Won NL East

Rays

Tropicana Field

1998

N/A

30,942

.389

19,294

-38%


Dbacks

Bank One Ballpark

1998

N/A

44,571

.401

37,280

-16%


Mariners *

Safeco Field

1999

32,735

36,004

.488

43,300

20%


Giants

Pacbell

2000

25,659

40,973

.599

40,888

0%

Won NL West

Tigers

Comerica Park

2000

25,018

30,106

.488

23,720

-21%


Astros

Enron Field

2000

33,000

37,730

.444

35,855

-5%


Brewers

Miller Park

2001

19,427

34,704

.420

24,311

-30%


Pirates

PNC Park

2001

21,591

30,430

.383

22,312

-27%


Reds

Great American Ballpark

2003

22,911

29,077

.426

37,244

28%


Phillies

Citizens Bank Park

2004

27,901

40,125

.531

32,905

-18%


Padres

PETCO Park

2004

25,063

37,244

.537

35,429

-5%


Cardinals

Busch III

2006

43,691

42,589

.516

43,854

3%

Won WS

Nationals

Nationals Park

2008

23,998

29,005

.366

22,435

-23%


Yankees

Yankee Stadium

2009

53,070

45,918

.636

46,491

1%

Won WS

Mets

CitiField

2009

49,902

39,118

.432

31,602

-19%


Twins

Target Field

2010

29,466

39,798

.580

39,113

-2%

Won AL Central

Marlins **

Marlins Park

2012

18,772

27,400

.426

18,864

-31%

2013 thru 16 games

* Not full season
** Current (5/6/13)


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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San Francisco Giants to Wear Special Gold Jerseys and Caps When Receiving 2012 World Series Rings PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 01 April 2013 16:22

Giants Gold Uniforms and caps

When you hear the saying, “We’re golden,” it’s not often that you think of a team uniform in Major League Baseball. There have been highlights of it (the Nationals come to mind), but not to the extent about to unfold.

When the San Francisco Giants receive their second World Series rings on Sunday, April 7 they will be wearing these specially-designed jerseys from Majestic and caps from New Era embossed in gold to commemorate their 2012 World Series Championship.

And, since it’s well known that fans (and clubs) love to see uniform options light-up cash registers, these official New Era caps and Majestic jerseys will be available this weekend at Giants Dugout Stores and online through MLB.com. One could say you not only get to support the Giants, but in doing so, wear some bling.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Report: Yankees Top, Astros Bottom for MLB Fan Loyalty PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 25 March 2013 16:21

When it comes to sports, what every owner looks for is repeat business. And, if you want repeat business, “loyalty” is king. Through good times and bad, the stronger your fan loyalty, the better off you are.

So, with Opening Day this Sunday, Brand Keys has released their 21st annual report, the Brand Keys 2013 Sports Fan Loyalty Index. Even with a roster that’s old as dirt and a trade for Vernon Wells in the offing (believe it or not, this makes more sense than you think), the New York Yankees return to the #1 spot, knocking the Phillies off the top perch after seeing two consecutive disappointing seasons. The 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants move from the #4 to the #3 position while Cardinals and Braves move up the list. If you’re in Boston, a concern is the Red Sox who held the top position from 2008-10 and haven’t been out of the top five for a considerable period of time. After two consecutive years of controversy, the Red Sox drop completely out of the top 5.

At the bottom of the list, the Astros, who have taken on extreme cost cutting, and move from the NL to the AL this year, drop to the “least loyal fans” spot at #30 after never being in the bottom five since The Biz of Baseball began tracking yearly data back to 2008. The Royals, who continue to languish move from 28 to 29 while the Pirates “improve” from the worst in 2012 to 28th. In news that is bound to make Baltimore happy, after years of being on the wrong side of winning, the Orioles drop out of the bottom five after holding the #30 position in 2008 and the #29 position last year. Winning does cure ills. Rounding out the bottom five, the Mets, who are just now beginning to crawl out from under the Bernie Madoff scandal, and Mariners, who have languished at the bottom of the AL West standings for years now, hold their spots at 27 and 26 from last year.

The Brand Keys Sports Fan Loyalty Index was designed to help professional sports team management identify precise fan loyalty rankings in their home and national markets. “These insights enable league and team management to identify areas, particularly emotional ones, that need strategic brand coaching,” said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys’ founder and president.

Current 2013 MLB top-5 and bottom-5 brand standings are listed
(Note: #’s in parentheses are team rankings for 2012):

Top-5 Teams – 2013 (2012 rankings)

1. New York Yankees (#2)
2. Philadelphia Phillies (#1)
3. San Francisco Giants (#4)
4. St. Louis Cardinals (#5)
5. Atlanta Braves (#6)

Cellar Dwellers 2013 (2012 ranking)

30. Houston Astros (#23)
29. Kansas City Royals (#28)
28. Pittsburgh Pirates (#30)
27. Seattle Mariners (#27)
26. New York Mets (#26)

The Sports Fan Loyalty Index, which measures all the teams in the four Major Leagues, provides an apples-to-apples comparison of the intensity with which fans within a team’s SMSA support the home team versus corresponding values for fans of other teams in that market.

“That’s important because fan loyalty correlates very highly with broadcast viewership, merchandise purchase, and ticket revenues. And happier fans as well,” noted Passikoff. “Everybody loves a winner, but it’s important to note that win/loss ratios do not entirely govern fan loyalty. There are three other emotionally based factors that must be taken into account.”

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE HISTORICAL BRAND LOYALITY DATA AND HOW THE METHODOLOGY FOR THE RANKINGS

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With June 1 Deadline Nearing, Push For International Draft in MLB Intensifies PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 18 March 2013 16:05

MLBIt has long been sought by the league, has had fits and starts, and will have large impacts if it does, or doesn’t happen. The topic is an International Draft in Major League Baseball, and according to a report in today’s SportsBusiness Journal, talks are intensifying on the subject. The reason for the focus on it is a June 1 deadline within the labor agreement reached between the MLBPA and MLB last year. Within the CBA, details of the worldwide draft spell out what occurs with, or without an international draft by the June 1 deadline.

As the CBA outlines, here’s what would happen if no joint agreement on an international draft were to happen by June 1

If a draft (or drafts) covering international amateur players does not commence in the 2013 season, and irrespective of whether the conditions set forth in I.E have been satisfied, the Office of the Commissioner may provide notice to the MLBPA that it intends to commence operation of a draft (or drafts) covering international amateur players for the 2014 season and subsequent seasons. Written notice of such intent must be provided to the MLBPA by no later than June 1, 2013, and such notice must include a detailed explanation of the rules and procedures that the Office of the Commissioner intends to use for the draft. The MLBPA may veto the commencement of a draft (or drafts) covering international amateur players for the 2014 season and subsequent seasons by providing written notice of its objection to the Office of the Commissioner by June 15, 2013.

But in speaking with MLBPA Executive Director, Michael Weiner in 2012, well in advance of the latest CBA being reached, he voiced that the union was for making it happen, but that there were difficulties in its implementation. Those difficulties are sizeable. As defined in the CBA, the following has to be addressed before an international draft can occur:

The Committee will be charged with advising the MLBPA and the Office of the Commissioner on the following matters:

1. If there is an international draft, whether international players should be part of a single worldwide draft (including players currently covered by the Rule 4 Draft) or a separate draft (or drafts).

2. The appropriate age at which international amateur players should be signed to professional contracts.

3. If there are to be multiple drafts, whether players from Puerto Rico should remain in the Rule 4 Draft or instead be part of an international draft.

4. The development of appropriate country-by-country plans for playing and development opportunities for players prior to draft eligibility, including expansion of the El Torneo Supremo.

5. The development of appropriate plans to provide undrafted or unsigned players (including players age 18 to 21) from Latin America with an opportunity to continue their development, including the creation of a new league or leagues, or the addition of centrally-operated Clubs in the Dominican Summer League (“DSL”).

6. Whether and how regulations should be put in place regarding representation of international amateur players (e.g., “independent trainers” and agents).

7. Improving the education and acculturation programs of Clubs at their international academies.

8. What safeguards should be established in relation to any signing bonus payments made to international amateur players.

9. The laws of the countries from which international players are signed and how those laws should affect the actions of the parties.

10. What actions are necessary in order to achieve the negotiation of a revised agreement between MLB and the Mexican League that allows players greater choice of where to play and promotes a fair and open system of player movement.

11. What actions are necessary in order to achieve the negotiation of revisions to the protocol agreements with the Korean Professional Baseball League, the Japanese Professional Baseball League, and the Taiwan R.O.C. League to accommodate a draft.

12. How Cuban players should be treated under an amateur talent system in light of the legal and political factors that affect their signability.

Those items are becoming more important as the season and the June 1 deadline near.

“There are plans to sit down and get serious about the negotiations this spring,” said David Prouty, MLBPA general counsel to Liz Mullen of the SBJ. “We are up against a deadline. If we don’t come up to an agreement, there will be more serious restrictions.”

As to those restrictions, as further reported by the SportsBusiness Jounal:

Without a draft deal, teams next year overspending their international signing caps by 15 percent or more will be subject to a 100 percent tax and a two-year restriction from signing any foreign amateur player to a bonus of more than $300,000. Even a 5 percent overspending by a club would limit an individual signing bonus to $500,000. Current international signing regulations assess only a 75 percent tax for less than a 5 percent overspend, building to a one-year prohibition on bonuses above $250,000 for overspending the pool by at least 15 percent.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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This is How Bad Miami Marlins Ticket Sales Are Going PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 07 March 2013 16:23

Marlins

Unlike other sports, Opening Day in Major League Baseball is one of—if not the—most highly attended game for each club in the league. Hope springs eternal for all teams, and fans that have pent up energy over the long, cold winter are ready to begin thinking about the warming days of summer.

So, it’s no surprise that the one game of the year that nearly every club has little problems selling out is Opening Day. Or, that seems to be, unless you’re named the Miami Marlins.

Yes, after the massive unloading of players this past off-season, and the PR debacle that owner Jeffrey Loria unleashed, getting fans to purchase tickets hasn’t been easy. Few lined up for single-game tickets, and now, the Marlins are working a ticket promotion to at least get some fans into the new stadium, that is just coming up on its second year.

Yes, sales are so bad that the Marlins are running a promo that if you buy a ticket to Opening Day, they’ll give you complimentary ticket for any home game in April or May. So, not only are they trying to get people in the gate on Opening Day, they’re looking to get fannies in the seats during what is historically the most difficult two months of the season to make sales.

So, remember, when you see a bunch of empty seats in April and May at Marlins Stadium, it speaks to the fact that not only is the club having a hard time selling tickets, they can’t give them away at a rate that fills the seats, as well.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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The 2013 World Baseball Classic Inforgraphic PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 01 March 2013 22:50

You knew it was coming. No, it’s not an infographic created by some media outlet, but rather by Major League Baseball itself. Since they say pictures speak louder than words, here it is. The infographic includes:

  • An overview of the teams, pools, venues and dates (beginning with Australia @ Chinese Taipei tonight at 11:30pm ET).
  • Broadcast information (MLB Network and ESPN Deportes airing all 39 games in the U.S. along with 36 international broadcasters televising games in 13 languages in more than 200 countries. Click here for a full list of all international broadcasters).
  • Top players participating (43 former All-Stars, including eight different MVP or Cy Young Award winners).
  • Social media facts and figures, including the ten participating players with the most Twitter followers (led by Team USA’s Brandon Phillips with more than 950,000).  Official World Baseball Classic social media channels: Twitter (@WBCBaseball)Facebook.
  • An overview of the tournament rules and regulations, including pitch counts, tiebreaker scenarios and early termination rules.
  • A summary of top sponsors for the tournament (60 in all, more than double the inaugural tournament, led by global sponsors Delta, Konami, MetLife and Brand USA).
  • Important examples of how the World Baseball Classic is impacting the growth of baseball around the world.

WBC Infographic

Source: Major League Baseball

 
New Mandatory Batting Helmet to Reduce Risk of Concussions Begins Use in MLB PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 21 February 2013 14:28
New Rawlings Batting Helmet
The Rawlings S100 Pro Comp batting helmet can sustain pitches of 100mph and
reduces the risk of concussion. All players will now be using it as part of latest labor
agreement between MLB and the players.

While the NFL has grabbed the headlines on the topic, the issue of concussions in Major League Baseball is being taken seriously. The concussion policy that was implemented prior to the 2011 season was  improved as part of the latest CBA. As an example, all players undergo neuro-cognitive baseline testing during Spring Training or when they join a club each season. There are various assessment tools—both on the field and off—that trainers use to determine the level of a concussion, and based on that assessment, a player goes on the DL for varying lengths of time, to as little as 7 days or longer.

To try and address the matter further, the league has been working with Rawlings on a new helmet that can reduce the risk of concussions from pitches to the head area at speeds of 100 mph. As part of the new labor agreement, the sides agreed that the new helmet would be in place for the upcoming season, and be an upgrade of the bulkier ones first developed and tested by the likes of David Wright and were given the nickname “Great Gazoo” after the Flinstones character when they were initially tested in 2009 (see details and image, here) because of the bulkiness.

Now, the design has been improved and per the labor agreement, will begin seeing use with the start of this week's Spring Training exhibition games. The new S100 Pro Comp batting helmet will become the standard throughout Major League Baseball.

Approximately 200 MLB players elected to wear the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp last year before the league-wide rule went into effect, including National League batting champion Buster Posey of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

"Collectively with MLB and the MLB Players Association, we developed the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp batting helmet to provide increased protection for the world's best baseball players, while meeting their specific functional and performance demands," said Art Chou, senior vice president of product for St. Louis-based Rawlings. "The evolution of the Rawlings S100 product line clearly illustrates how we can deliver innovative protective solutions at the very highest level of the sport while still delivering high-performing equipment so these players can continue to play at their peak levels."

According to Rawlings the helmets are constructed of aerospace-grade carbon fiber composite, the new Rawlings S100 Pro Comp batting helmet provides technologically-enhanced protection for ball strikes up to 100 miles per hour. Earlier this week, the innovative Rawlings S100 Pro Comp helmet design was named a finalist for the Edison Awards in the category of material science-composites. The Edison Awards honors excellence in new product development and innovation.

The next-generation S100 Pro Comp is 300-percent stiffer and 130 times stronger than the traditional ABS plastic helmet that was the previous standard in Major League Baseball, yet features a significantly lighter and smaller design than previous S100 models that have been tested in recent years. The similarities in weight and size to the traditional helmet allow for a seamless transition to the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp for all MLB players.

"Protecting our players with the latest innovations in protection equipment is a top priority of Major League Baseball," said Dan Halem, Senior Vice President, Labor Relations, Major League Baseball. "Last year the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp received a great reception from the MLB players that chose to wear it, and we're pleased to take the next step and roll it out league-wide."


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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The Complete 2013 MLB Regular Season Schedule with Game Times PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 24 January 2013 12:47

MLBBaseball season is not far away… MLB has released the following:

Major League Baseball today announced the game times for its master 2013 regular season schedule, which will begin on March 31st with ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” when the Houston Astros host the Texas Rangers at 8:00 p.m. (ET) / 7:00 p.m. (CT).  The final day of the 2013 regular season, which features 11 divisional match-ups, is scheduled for Sunday, September 29th.

Opening Night in Houston between the Astros and Rangers marks the first-ever game for the Astros as an American League Club and it begins ESPN’s 24th season televising Major League Baseball.  Twelve games will be played on Monday, April 1st, when traditional Opening Day returns to a Monday for the first time since 2010 (the 2011 season opened on a Thursday, while 2012 began with one game on a Wednesday night and traditional Opening Day on a Thursday).  The first full slate of 15 games will be played on Wednesday, April 3rd.

ESPN will continue its coverage of Opening Week presented by Budweiser with four games on Monday, April 1st, which feature the winners of the past seven World Series.  Opening Day coverage on ESPN begins at 1:00 p.m (ET) as the Boston Red Sox visit the New York Yankees, followed by the San Francisco Giants at the Los Angeles Dodgers at 4:00 p.m. (ET)/1:00 p.m. (PT).  At 7:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2, the Philadelphia Phillies will visit the Atlanta Braves, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals at the Arizona Diamondbacks at 10:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (PT).

MLB Network will have extensive coverage of Opening Week, featuring the return of its regular season programming lineup of The Rundown, Intentional Talk, MLB Tonight and Quick Pitch with look-ins at live games in progress, previews, highlights and analysis.  MLB Network’s Showcase Game schedule will begin on Tuesday, April 2nd with the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the 2012 World Champion San Francisco Giants at 10:10 p.m. (ET) / 7:10 p.m. (PT).

Among the other highlights of the 2013 regular season:

  • The Cincinnati Reds open their season against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Great American Ball Park on Monday, April 1st at 4:10 p.m (ET), marking the start of the 17th season of Interleague Play, and the first to feature Interleague contests for the duration of the season.
  • The San Francisco Giants square off against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park in their home opener on Friday, April 5th at 4:35 p.m. (ET) / 1:35 p.m. (PT) in a rematch of the 2012 National League Championship Series.
  • The Detroit Tigers open a three-game series against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park on Friday, April 5th at 1:05 p.m. (ET) as the clubs see one another again after the 2012 American League Championship Series.
  • The Dodgers will host the Padres at Dodger Stadium at 10:10 p.m. (ET) / 7:10 p.m. (PT) on Monday, April 15th, which is designated as Jackie Robinson Day throughout Major League Baseball.
  • Interleague series featuring prime rivals will have back-to-back two-game series beginning on Monday, May 27th (Memorial Day), with the host club shifting on Wednesday, May 29th.  The match-ups include: Nationals-Orioles; Mets-Yankees; Marlins-Rays; Reds-Indians; Cubs-White Sox; Cardinals-Royals; Angels-Dodgers; Giants-Athletics; Phillies-Red Sox; Braves-Blue Jays; Tigers-Pirates; Brewers-Twins; Rockies-Astros; Rangers-Diamondbacks; and Padres-Mariners.
  • The 2013 All-Star Game, to be hosted by the New York Mets, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 16th at Citi Field.

Select READ MORE for the complete 2013 Major League Baseball regular season schedule with game times (PDF)

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Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?