MLB Opening Day Schedule Photo Credit: MLB

MLB’s Opening Day is always a magical experience for fans who’ve been without baseball for almost five months.

That means MLB had an entire offseason to tweak their Opening Day schedule for maximum effect.

That’s the thought, anyway. Yet MLB’s schedule Thursday disappointed many fans.

MLB scheduled 13 games for Opening Day. The most immediate thing many fans noticed is the lack of 1 p.m. ET games. The earliest start time is the Los Angeles Angels at the Baltimore Orioles at 3:05 p.m. There’s not another game scheduled until 4:10 p.m.

Why let those first couple of afternoon hours pass without a game? There are millions of office workers eager to shut down their spreadsheets and fire up MLB.TV for an early afternoon matchup or two, even involving teams they don’t care about or hate.

Instead, MLB backloaded the schedule with four games starting at 7:35 p.m. (ET) or later. Good thing there’s nothing else on TV tonight — wait a minute, the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 tips off with four games starting between 7:09 p.m. and 10:09 p.m.

Another thing that really stood out to fans is the lack of any true rivalry games. It would have been nice to see a schedule that included one or two obvious rivalries such as the Yankees-Mets or Yankees-Red Sox, the Cardinals-Royals, Cubs-White Sox, a rematch of the Rangers-Diamondbacks World Series, etc. Instead, fans get the Red Sox at the Mariners at 10:10 p.m. ET.

Another glaring issue: There is only one nationally televised game on a basic cable network, the Cubs and Rangers at 7:35 p.m. on ESPN. (The Cardinals and Dodgers play at 4:10 p.m. on MLB Network, available to subscribers.)

MLB surely could have done better. It’s almost as if someone in the league office working on the schedule plugged everything into ChatGPT and let AI figure everything out, without any consideration for competition from other sports, rivalries, fans’ viewing habits, etc.

Or even worse, so-called experts in the league office put the schedule together, but with a mindset from the 1980s, when baseball had a captive audience. That’s before Netflix, TikTok and other entertainment emerged to compete with the sport.

Many fans checked in on social media to air their Opening Day grievances.

While it feels weird to rain on MLB’s Opening Day parade here, many fans are disappointed. Surely the sport can do better next time. Unfortunately, it will have to wait another year to try again.

[@MLB; Photo Credit: MLB]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.