The 2014 MLB season kicks off with a two game series between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks live by Sydney, Australia, and the games will air live on MLB Network. However, because the games are airing live *from Australia* the times are a little screwy.
The opener on March 22nd will start at 4 AM eastern time, or 1 AM for fans in Los Angeles and Arizona. That's right, Dodgers and Diamondbacks fans – if you want to see your team's game in full, you'll need to burn the midnight oil. If you're an east coast fan, the game will re-air immediately afterwards at 7 AM. That doesn't help west coast fans at all, because the replay will be scheduled for 4 AM Pacific.
The second game will at at 10 PM eastern time and 7 PM Pacific time, a much more familiar circumstance for fanbases on both coasts. Each game will be called by MLB Network duo Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz, while former cricket player Ian Chappell will provide commentary, likely related to Australia and the Sydney Cricket Ground, where the games will be played.
For as much as I despite opening the MLB season abroad, this is actually an improvement over 2012, when the Mariners and A's started the year at 6 AM eastern and 3 AM Pacific, and followed it up with a game starting at 5 AM eastern and 2 AM Pacific. The only broadcast was a local Mariners crew from Root Sports Northwest, and the games didn't even air on CSN California. It's a disservice to fans who have to either stay up until a ridiculous hour or set their alarm for the wee hours of the morning. It's a disservice to players who are expected to perform at a high level in meaningful games at times that aren't normal for them.
I'm all about "growing the game", but doing it while inconveniencing everyone in your home market is silly. MLB is planning a series of exhibition games in Amsterdam, and that's a better way to grow the game worldwide than by holding regular season games abroad a week before Spring Training ends for the other teams in the league. Those inconveniences are probably one of the reasons that Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke was so nonplussed about the trip to Sydney.