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Should MLB Start Its Season On A Sunday?

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It's a legitimate question, since in 2016 the Sunday opener won't be the only game that day.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

It's Sunday, so I thought this might be a good discussion topic.

Major League Baseball, for the last several years, has scheduled an exclusive Sunday-night opener to the baseball season. Last year the Cubs and Cardinals were involved, this year, thanks to a quirk of the schedule (which was released a month before the postseason), it'll be the defending league champions, the Mets and Royals, on ESPN's Sunday night opener.

But next year will also have a twist added to this Opening Day schedule -- two other games played on Sunday afternoon, April 4, both involving playoff teams from 2015. The Pirates and Cardinals will actually kick off the season at noon CT, followed by the Blue Jays and Rays at 3 p.m. CT.

So the ESPN Sunday night opener really isn't. It's just ESPN's exclusive evening, and they will carry the other two games, but those will also be on local channels.

In 2016, as in 2015, MLB has scheduled all the games on the last day of the season to start at the same time, 2 p.m. CT. This is to give no team fighting for a playoff spot or home field that last day an advantage.

So why not do the same thing on Opening Day? MLB could either schedule all but the ESPN night opener to start at 2 p.m. CT; those games would all be over by the 7 p.m. CT start (or, in the case of 2016, 7:30 p.m. CT start) of the exclusive Sunday night game. Or, to accommodate East Coast and West Coast teams, do it like this year: have the eastern and midwestern host teams start at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT), the western host teams at 1 p.m. PT (noon MT).

Beyond the idea of having every team open on the same day, as opposed to the scattered openers (some Monday, some Tuesday) we have now, this would accomplish two things:

  • Not competing against the NCAA basketball tournament championship game Monday, which in many years has been on the same day as MLB's openers.
  • Having all teams open on a weekend day, which for many would be better than having to take a weekday off work to attend a team's opener.

There's only one potential issue with doing this -- in some future years this Sunday date (presumably, the last Sunday in March or first Sunday in April) might coincide with Easter, and there might be some people who wouldn't go to a baseball game on that date. This could be remedied by not scheduling the Sunday openers in those years, which, if I'm reading this detailed Easter calendar correctly, comes up on average once every five years.

It's something MLB should think about, anyway. They might be thinking about it already, having scheduled three games instead of one for Opening Sunday. It could be a great experience for all baseball fans.