|Play ball! An intriguing Opening Day schedule features an interleague clash between the Reds and Angels. (Getty Images)|
From deep within the bowels of mission control, MLB has concocted and now released the full regular-season schedule for 2013. Let's dig in, shall we?
For starters, here's the Opening-Day lineup for April 1, 2013:
Angels @ Reds
Red Sox @ Yankees
Giants @ Dodgers
Padres @ Mets
Marlins @ Nationals
Royals @ White Sox
Tigers @ Twins
Cardinals @ Diamondbacks
Mariners @ Athletics
Phillies @ Braves
Rockies @ Brewers
Cubs @ Pirates
Yes, that is indeed an interleague clash -- Angels vs. Cincy -- on opening day. Other schedule highlights ...
- There will be a Sunday-night ESPN game on March 31 to kick off the season, but the combatants have not yet been determined.
- The Astros will play their first game as an American League franchise on April 2 when they host the Rangers in Houston.
- The Dodgers will host the Padres on Jackie Robinson Day (April 15).
- May 24: Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen (we're assuming he'll still be the manager) returns to Chicago to face his old team, the White Sox.
- The First-Year Player Draft (also incorrectly known as the "Amateur Draft") will go down on June 6.
- On July 2, the Cardinals encounter Albert Pujols for the first time, although this series will be in Anaheim.
- That same day, the Cubs will pay their first visit to Oakland and in doing so play in their 114th different ballpark as a franchise.
- The All-Star Game at Citi Field, home of the Mets, is scheduled for July 16.
- Some intriguing interleague match-ups at various points in the season include Dodgers-Orioles, Yankees-Dodgers, Yankees-Padres (1998 World Series rematch), Giants-Yankees, Giants-Rays, Phillies-Tigers, Rangers-Cardinals and A's-Pirates.
- The final day of the regular season -- Sept. 29 -- features a number of series that could have playoff implications: Angels-Rangers, Red Sox-Orioles, Phillies-Braves, Pirates-Reds, Padres-Giants (yes, the Padres can contend next season), Nationals-Diamondbacks and Rays-Blue Jays.
- While the exact dates of the World Baseball Classic have not yet been announced, the primary tournament will unfold in March, prior to the start of the regular season.