The 2013 MLB schedule was released on Wednesday morning, and for once, it was actually highly anticipated. The schedule has the Houston Astros making the move to the American League next year, meaning that interleague play will occur during every single week of the season. It also ensures that some weird schedule-making will take place and the Arizona Diamondbacks are a prime example of this trend.
For starters, they begin the season with a three game homestand against the St. Louis Cardinals and then head up to Milwaukee to face the Brewers on a three-game road trip, followed by a return trip to Phoenix. Yes, a three game road trip may be strange, but no stranger than the Chicago Cubs, who have a TWO game road swing all the way out in Los Angeles this year when they battle the Angels.
Their first interleague game of the season won’t occur in May, as it has the last several years. Instead it will take place just after tax day, when they play a midweek series April 16-18 against the New York Yankees in the Bronx. This rematch of the 2001 World Series will certainly draw a lot of eyes and will be a great indicator of whether fans will embrace year-round interleague play.
After that, things continue to be strange for the 2013 Diamondbacks. After their first ever doubleheader at Chase Field last month against the Miami Marlins, they actually have one scheduled next year against the Texas Rangers in a Memorial Day duel in Phoenix. They then head to Arlington to battle those same Rangers in what is a pattern repeated throughout the entire league, marking the first time in recent memory that teams will actually play home and home series against one another.
The scheduled doubleheader is an increasing rarity in baseball, which used to feature twin bills on just about every major holiday and on a lot of weekends. It is a refreshing return to tradition and one that fans would certainly enjoy if MLB decides to make it a league-wide thing in 2014.
In August, the schedule is fairly normal, but there is an entertaining portion that will see the Diamondbacks play eight games against AL East foes. In late July, they will head to St. Petersburg to take on the Tampa Bay Rays, then over the following weekend they’ll be at Fenway Park battling the Boston Red Sox. To complete their AL East excursion, they’ll then head back to Phoenix to battle the Rays again in a brief two-game series.
To wrap up the year, September features a ton of games against the NL West (as it should be). Bookended by series against the Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals, they will play seven games against the Los Angeles Dodgers, six against the Colorado Rockies and three apiece against the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres. If they are in the race during the stretch run, this will be a great opportunity for them to either make up ground on their opposition, or perhaps to put more distance between themselves and the rest of the division.
Whether the Diamondbacks have a significantly different roster for 2013 remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: their schedule definitely is, and Major League Baseball will never be the same.