On Tuesday, MLB released the tentative schedule for the 2018 season. The big takeaway? It's the return of a true Opening Day. Take a look at the slate for Thursday, March 29 -- i.e., the first day of baseball for the 2018 campaign (start times not yet announced): 

  • Astros at Rangers
  • Angels at Athletics
  • Indians at Mariners
  • White Sox at Royals
  • Pirates at Tigers
  • Twins at Orioles
  • Red Sox at Rays
  • Yankees at Blue Jays
  • Rockies at Diamondbacks
  • Giants at Dodgers
  • Brewers at Padres
  • Cubs at Marlins
  • Nationals at Reds
  • Cardinals at Mets
  • Phillies at Braves

Yep, all 15 teams are in action on the first day of the regular season. That's a true Opening Day -- i.e., no night-before game or an overseas contest to start things off -- and that hasn't happened since way back yonder in 1968. If you're an Opening Day traditionalist (like, say, Johnny Bench is), then this should be welcome news. Also, throw out those games played abroad, and this is the earliest the MLB season has ever opened. 

Some other noteworthy takeaways from the 2018 schedule: 

  • Nine games are scheduled for Friday, March 30; a full slate of 15 games is scheduled for Saturday, March 31; and the opening weekend closes on Sunday, April 1 with 12 contests.
  • In interleague play, we'll get a home-and-home rematch of the 2016 World Series (and, heck, maybe the 2017 World Series), as the Indians and Cubs will square off. 
  • Other interleague World Series rematches for 2018 include Phillies-Rays, Yankees-Phillies, and Rangers-Giants. 
  • As you may have guessed, interleague play in 2018 will feature teams from one league against clubs in the same division of the other league.
  • The Thursday after the All-Star Game at Nationals Park will feature only one game -- Cardinals versus Cubs in Wrigley Field. 
  • The Twins and Indians will play a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 17 and 18. 
  • The MLB Draft begins on June 4. 
  • The final day of the 2018 regular season -- Sept. 30 -- features 12 intra-divisional games, including Red Sox-Yankees.

We've of course got a lot of 2017 left -- including, you know, the postseason -- but this should whet the baseball enthusiast's appetite for next year.