Major League Baseball just announced its plans to have the Astros and Rangers open the regular season with a game on March 31, one day before the bulk of baseball gets started. The Yankees will open on April 1, and that game will be on ESPN. Here’s the announcement from the league.
The Houston Astros will mark their official entrance into the American League by facing their in-state and new AL West Division rivals, the Texas Rangers, before a national television audience to open the 2013 Major League Baseball season. On Sunday night, March 31st, ESPN will present an exclusive national telecast of the Astros’ historic first-ever game in the American League when they host the Rangers at Minute Maid Park at 8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT.
The following day, Monday, April 1, ESPN will continue its coverage of Opening Week presented by Budweiser with four Opening Day match-ups across ESPN networks featuring the winners of the past seven World Series (all times ET, subject to local blackouts):
• 1:00pm – Red Sox @ Yankees (ESPN)
• 4:00pm – Giants @ Dodgers (ESPN)
• 7:00pm – Phillies @ Braves (ESPN2)
• 10:00pm – Cardinals @ Diamondbacks (ESPN2)
The Astros-Rangers contest will mark the first time Astros and Rangers will face each other to start a season. With the Astros moving to the American League, each league now has 15 Clubs, and each of Major League Baseball’s six divisions are comprised of five Clubs for the first time. The Sunday, March 31 game between the Astros and Rangers was moved from Thursday, April 4.
The ESPN/ESPN2 Opening Day slate on Monday, April 1 features some of the biggest division rivalries in baseball as well as the winners of the past seven World Series. Overall, 12 games will be played across Major League Baseball that day.