Francisco Lindor
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor grounds out during the first inning of the team's spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Sunday, April 3, 2022, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)


Mike Shara

(sings) “It’s the most…won-der-ful time…of the year.” I honestly don’t even know what the rest of that song is – I’m pretty sure it’s a Christmas tune – but that line pertains to this week perfectly so I’m stealing it. The fact that I’m pretending to sing – even in written form – tells you how excited and relieved I am to be starting yet another baseball season. For a while there in February I was experiencing serious doubts as to whether this week would ever come – or that we’d see MLB play a full, 162 game season in 2022, but full credit to everyone involved in the labor negotiations – they made it happen. It was agonizing, but it’s over now. Play Ball!

This season is looking like it could have a bit of a different feel. While certain perennial winners appear poised to continue their regular season success (Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, Braves), there could also be a few new contending teams to talk about in September. For the first time in a while there is real postseason hope in cities that haven’t had much luck historically in playing more than 162. Seattle came very close to sneaking into the playoffs last year and the Mariners will be incorporating several exciting young rookies (and defending AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray) into their MLB roster this year in hopes of making up the gap and reaching the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years. Despite losing Ray, Marcus Semien and Steven Matz to free agency, the Toronto Blue Jays are also being viewed as a potential winner, though they will again have to navigate the rigors of a brutal unbalanced  A.L. East schedule with four very tough teams in their division. 

In the National League the traditional powers seem pretty invulnerable but for the first time in a while the Milwaukee Brewers – relying heavily on their powerful young rotation and dominant back-end bullpen – are seen as clear favorites to win their division, with the rest of the teams in their division all looking somewhat flawed or injured or both (imagine if the Blue Jays were in the NL Central) The team I’m watching is the Marlins, who almost no one is talking about. With the Phillies, Braves and Mets all stocking up on expensive older players this winter, Miami is toiling in relative anonymity in the NL East. However they have a stockpile of potentially elite young starting pitching that could vault them past all three of those teams sooner than later. It might not happen this year, but they have made a few sneaky offensive upgrades (Jorge Soler, Avisail Garcia) that will help them score enough to win a few more games than folks might suspect, even in a tough division.

The games scheduled for the first weekend of the season range from traditional ‘must-see’ rivalry games (Yankees/Red Sox, Brewers/Cubs) to matchups between playoff hopefuls (Mariners/Twins) to divisional David vs. Goliath games (Dodgers/Rockies) to ‘how the hell are those two teams playing on opening weekend?’ (A’s/Phillies). Honestly, though – who cares what the matchups are? The point is that baseball is back, baby. We can finally enjoy a game on television that counts – and lay some bets that count, too. The weather is getting warmer (theoretically, at least…), my wife is preparing to become a baseball season divorcee again and America’s pastime finally begins another six month march towards the World Series and the immortality that it brings with it. Talk to you in November. Until then I’m busy. 

The games listed below are only the games that will be broadcast nationally. All regional sports networks will be carrying your favorite local teams, so check your local listings to watch your local nine take the field for the first time in what feels like forever. There are also several ways to stream games both in and out of your market, including MLB TV, Sling TV, Hulu, Fubo TV and even Apple TV will be broadcasting Friday night games this year so you can investigate those services and see which one serves your viewing needs best. Enjoy.

NY Mets @ Washington   4:05 pm    ESPN+
Cincinnati @ Atlanta    8 pm    ESPN

Boston @ NY Yankees   1:05 pm   MLB TV  (postponed from Thursday due to weather)
Chicago (AL) vs. Detroit   1:05 pm   ESPN+
NY Mets @ Washington   7:05 pm   Apple TV+
Houston @ LA Angels    9:30 pm    Apple TV+

Boston @ NY Yankees   4 pm   FS1
LA Dodgers @ Colorado   8 pm    ESPN+

Cincinnati @ Atlanta   1:35 pm   ESPN+
Boston @ NY Yankees    7pm    ESPN 

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