When Does the Baseball Season Start: Key Dates You Need to Know

When does the baseball season start? For Major League Baseball (MLB), the season kicks off with a unique twist in 2024.

This year, the Dodgers and Padres will have the honor of playing the first games in South Korea on March 20 and 21. The official MLB Opening Day is on March 28, with all 30 teams taking to the field. It’s an exciting time for fans, as they get to witness the fresh start of the season and cheer for their favorite teams.

A baseball field with freshly cut grass, empty bleachers, and a scoreboard displaying the start date of the season

The regular season is packed with action, consisting of 162 games for each team in both the American League (AL) and National League (NL).

The games stretch over 26½ weeks, providing ample opportunity for fans to enjoy America’s pastime.

The season culminates with the regular season finale on September 29, followed by thrilling postseason games and the All-Star Game hosted in Arlington.

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Key Dates for MLB Season

The scene depicts a baseball field with players warming up, fans filling the stands, and the sun setting on opening day of the MLB season

Baseball fans eagerly await several important dates throughout the season.

From Spring Training to the World Series, each phase brings its own excitement and opportunities.

Spring Training

Spring Training usually begins in mid-February.

Teams head to warmer climates in Florida and Arizona to prepare for the season.

This period typically lasts about a month and a half.

Players get into game shape, and coaches evaluate talent.

Spring Training games start in early March, giving fans a sneak peek at their favorite players and potential new stars.

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Opening Day

Opening Day is the official start of the MLB regular season.

For the 2023 season, it was on March 30.

This day marks the beginning of a six-month journey for all 30 teams.

Opening Day showcases matchups that often highlight historic rivalries and provides a platform for teams to set the tone for the rest of the season.

It’s a day filled with excitement and hope for players and fans alike.

Regular Season

The regular season runs from late March or early April through October.

Each team plays 162 games during this period.

This stretch includes critical moments like the All-Star Game, which took place in July, and the trade deadline in late July.

Fans closely follow their team’s performance, hoping for a postseason berth.

The regular season is a grind that tests each team’s depth and endurance.

Postseason and World Series

The postseason begins in October.

Teams that make it past the regular season compete in the Wild Card, Division Series, League Championship Series, and finally, the World Series.

The World Series is the culmination of the season, where the champions of the American and National Leagues face off.

It’s a best-of-seven series that usually concludes by the end of October.

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Teams to Watch

Baseball teams on field, fans in stands, season opener

Baseball fans have a lot to look forward to each season.

Some teams are consistent powerhouses, while others are showing signs of breaking through.

A few are in the middle of rebuilding and might surprise everyone.

Established Contenders

Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers have been a force in recent seasons.

With a strong lineup and a deep pitching staff, they are always in the mix for the World Series.

Their combination of veterans like Clayton Kershaw and rising stars makes them a team to watch.

New York Yankees – The Yankees, with their powerful lineup led by Aaron Judge, are perennial contenders.

Their rich history adds to the excitement.

With solid pitching and a potent offense, they are ready to compete every year.

Houston Astros – Despite off-field controversies, the Astros continue to perform at a high level.

Players like Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman keep them competitive in the tough American League.

Atlanta Braves – The Braves have built a strong, young team that has already seen success.

With players like Ronald Acuña Jr. leading the charge, they are poised to win more titles in the coming years.

Emerging Teams

Minnesota Twins – The Twins are making waves in the American League Central.

With a mix of young talent and experienced players, they could challenge for the top spot more regularly.

Philadelphia Phillies – Their recent moves and strong player development have made the Phillies an exciting team to watch.

Look out for their dynamic offense and improving pitching staff.

Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays are known for their innovative strategies and strong scouting.

Even with a smaller budget, they manage to compete with the top teams, relying on smart plays and strong youth development.

New York Mets – With recent big signings and the presence of stars like Jacob deGrom, the Mets are looking to move up the ranks.

Their improved roster makes them a wildcard in any matchup.

Rebuilding Franchises

Washington Nationals – Since their 2019 World Series win, the Nationals have been in a rebuilding phase.

They have young talents coming up through the ranks who could bring them back to prominence.

St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals are in a phase of integrating new, young talent while keeping experienced players around.

Their rebuild might see them back to their winning ways soon.

Chicago Cubs – Rebuilding after their championship run in 2016, the Cubs are infusing new talent into their roster.

They are developing players who could restore them as perennial contenders.

Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are focusing on developing their young prospects and have shown signs of improvement.

Their rebuild might take time, but they have the pieces to surprise the league.

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Understanding the League Structure

The baseball season starts in spring, with teams organized into leagues and divisions.</p><p>The excitement of opening day fills the air as fans gather in the stands

Major League Baseball (MLB) is split into two main leagues: the American League and the National League.

Each league has 15 teams and is further divided into three divisions based on geographical regions.

American League Breakdown

The American League (AL) consists of three divisions: AL East, AL Central, and AL West.

Each division has five teams.

  • AL East: Known for intense rivalries, this division has teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
  • AL Central: Includes teams like the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, often competitive but less nationally spotlighted.
  • AL West: Features teams on the western coast, including the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

These divisions create a balanced but competitive atmosphere where teams play most of their games against divisional rivals.

National League Breakdown

The National League (NL) also consists of three divisions: NL East, NL Central, and NL West.

Like the AL, each division has five teams.

  • NL East: Home to teams like the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. Historically strong and competitive.
  • NL Central: Includes teams such as the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Known for their intense rivalries and passionate fan bases.
  • NL West: Features west coast teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. Competitive and high-profile games are common.

Each division’s structure contributes to the overall dynamics of the league, ensuring that there’s a mix of local and national rivalries.

Division Rivalries

Division rivalries are a crucial part of MLB’s structure.

Teams play many of their games against division opponents.

This increases the stakes of every game.

  • AL East: Yankees vs. Red Sox is one of the most famous rivalries in sports.
  • NL Central: Cubs vs. Cardinals games often feel like playoff matches.
  • NL West: Dodgers vs. Giants has been a long-standing rivalry that stretches back decades.

These rivalries make the season more exciting and meaningful, adding another layer to the league structure.

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