The 2011 Major League Baseball season will start a bit earlier, with five games on Thursday March 31st. The opening day slate will include the Yankees hosting the Tigers, the Cincinnati Reds at home against the Brewers, the Royals hosting the Angels, the Washington Nationals hosting the Atlanta Braves, and the St. Louis Cardinals at home against the San Diego Padres. The schedule could also be adjusted to accommodate a possible series between the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks in Taiwan. It’s the first time since 1998 that the season will start on a day other than Sunday or Monday. The last time the season started on Thursday was in 1976. The new schedule will allow the regular season to end earlier, on Wednesday September 28th next year. The hope is to keep the World Series from running into November, as it has in recent years.
Elsewhere on the tentative schedule, the main interleague matchups will pit the NL West against the AL Central, the AL East versus the NL Central, and the NL East facing the AL West. Arizona’s Chase Field is still scheduled to host the 2011 All-Star Game on July 12th, despite some calls for Major League Baseball to move the contest in response to Arizona’s new law cracking down on illegal immigrants.