M.L.B. Opening Day: What to Watch For

April 1, 2021, 12:10 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 12:10 a.m. ET

The Astros got a taste of fan resentment in spring training both this year and last, but on Thursday they’ll face a hostile regular season crowd for the first time since their cheating scheme was revealed.
Credit…Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The expected highlights of opening day, which will stretch from 1:05 p.m. Eastern time until approximately 1 a.m., include the Hall of Famer Tony La Russa’s return to managing with the Chicago White Sox, Francisco Lindor’s debut with the Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning their title defense.

But the most interesting game of the day is quite likely the Houston Astros’ road opener at Oakland, where they will face a hostile regular season crowd for the first time since their elaborate sign-stealing scheme (which helped the team win the 2017 World Series) was revealed. That game between the Astros and the Athletics is one of four opening day games that will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Here is the full opening day schedule.

  • Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees, 1:05 p.m., ESPN

  • Cleveland at Detroit Tigers, 1:10 p.m.

  • Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox, 2:10 p.m.

  • Minnesota Twins at Milwaukee Brewers, 2:10 p.m.

  • Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

  • Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies, 3:05 p.m., ESPN+

  • Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres, 4:10 p.m.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies, 4:10 p.m., ESPN

  • St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds, 4:10 p.m.

  • Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins, 4:10 p.m.

  • Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals, 4:10 p.m.

  • Mets at Washington Nationals, 7:09 p.m., ESPN

  • Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels, 10:05 p.m.

  • Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics, 10:07 p.m., ESPN

  • San Francisco Giants at Seattle Mariners, 10:10 p.m.

All times are Eastern.

April 1, 2021, 12:05 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 12:05 a.m. ET

Rangers fans got a sneak peek at Globe Life Field during a pair of exhibition games on Monday and Tuesday.
Credit…Jonathan Zizzo for The New York Times

Fans were not permitted to any regular season games last season, but there will be some allowed in every major league park at the start of the 2021 campaign.

The capacities of the various parks range from just over 1,000 at teeny-tiny TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., which will serve as the temporary home of the Toronto Blue Jays, all the way to full capacity, at least for one game, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, where the Texas Rangers are eager to show off their new stadium after it sat empty until the 2020 postseason.

April 1, 2021, 12:01 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 12:01 a.m. ET

Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals has 637 hits since 2017, the most of any player in the American League.
Credit…Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

Keeping up with the off-season movements of 30 teams can be a daunting task. Luckily, Tyler Kepner took the time to run through all 30 teams, highlighting a reason for them to be optimistic, a reason for them to be pessimistic and a key statistic for each.

Did you know that the Philadelphia Phillies had a lead at some point during 48 of their 60 games last season (despite winning only 28 games)? Would you have guessed that Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals leads the American League in hits since 2017? Tyler did.

Tyler also made postseason predictions, and fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers will want to read all the way to the bottom.

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