The Washington Nationals will begin a delayed defence of their World Series title by hosting the New York Yankees on July 23 as MLB announced the schedule for its abbreviated 60-game 2020 season on Monday.
The start of the MLB campaign has been on hold since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has wreaked havoc in the United States and across the globe.
But the marquee Nationals-Yankees matchup will be the first game of an opening-night doubleheader, with the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting rivals the San Francisco Giants in the nightcap.
That game is expected to mark the Dodgers debut of 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, while Gerrit Cole could make his first start since signing a nine-year, $324million contract with the Yankees in December.
All other teams will begin their seasons on July 24, highlighted by the Texas Rangers hosting the Colorado Rockies in the first game at their new stadium – Globe Life Field.
Games will be held without spectators during the shortened regular season, which is slated to end on September 27 and will be followed by a 10-team playoff format.
Dates to remember. pic.twitter.com/4iCN82Nuz7— MLB (@MLB) July 7, 2020
Other notable opening series include the Los Angeles Angels, who made an offseason splash by signing former Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, visiting the Oakland Athletics and defending National League East champions the Atlanta Braves traveling to New York to take on division rivals the Mets.
The schedule also includes a matchup between the St Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox in Dyersville, Iowa on August 13, which will be played on the field used in the acclaimed baseball film "Field of Dreams."
MLB also rescheduled Jackie Robinson Day for August 28. The annual celebration of the Hall of Fame player who broke baseball's colour barrier in 1947 is traditionally held on April 15, but was postponed due to COVID-19.
Additionally, MLB will honour the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues on August 16 and will hold Roberto Clemente Day to commemorate the former Pittsburgh Pirates great on September 9.
The revised schedule will have teams playing 40 games against division opponents and 20 interleague games against a corresponding geographical division, such as the AL East facing teams from the NL East.Published 07 Jul 2020, 06:24 IST