Major League Baseball today announced the game times for its master 2016 regular season schedule, which will begin on April 3rd when the Pittsburgh Pirates host the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. (ET) on ESPN. ESPN will continue its Opening Day coverage with the Toronto Blue Jays at the Tampa Bay Rays at 4:05 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2, followed by "Sunday Night Baseball" on ESPN, featuring the World Champion Kansas City Royals hosting the National League Champion New York Mets at 8:35 p.m. (ET)/7:35 p.m. (CT) in a renewal of the 2015 World Series, as well as the start of the 20th season of Interleague Play. The final day of the 2016 regular season, which features 12 divisional match-ups, is scheduled for Sunday, October 2nd. For the second consecutive year, all games played on the final scheduled day of the regular season will begin at 3:00 p.m. (ET) in an effort to maximize the excitement of Postseason races.
ESPN, beginning its 27th season televising Major League Baseball, will also provide Opening Day coverage on Monday, April 4th at 1:05 p.m. (ET) as the Houston Astros visit the New York Yankees, followed by the Seattle Mariners at the Texas Rangers at 4:05 p.m. (ET)/3:05 p.m. (CT), the Los Angeles Dodgers at the San Diego Padres at 7:05 p.m. (ET)/4:05 p.m. (PT), and the Chicago Cubs at the Los Angeles Angels at 10:05 p.m. (ET)/7:05 p.m. (PT). The seven games featured on ESPN on Sunday and Monday will include each of the 10 Clubs that participated in the 2015 Postseason. Traditional Opening Day on Monday, April 4th will feature 12 games, and the first full slate of 15 games will be played on Friday, April 8th.
MLB Network will have extensive coverage of Opening Week, featuring the return of its regular season programming lineup of MLB Central, High Heat with Christopher Russo, The Rundown, MLB Now, Intentional Talk, MLB Tonight and Quick Pitch with look-ins at live games in progress, previews, highlights and analysis.
Among the other highlights of the 2016 regular season:
· The Mets host the Cubs at Citi Field for a four-game set beginning on Thursday, June 30th at 7:10 p.m. (ET) as the clubs meet again after the 2015 National League Championship Series.
· The Kansas City Royals visit the Toronto Blue Jays for a three-game series at Rogers Centre beginning on Monday, July 4th at 7:07 p.m. (ET) in a rematch of the 2015 American League Championship Series.
· The Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium at 10:10 p.m. (ET) / 7:10 p.m. (PT) on Friday, April 15th, which is designated as Jackie Robinson Day throughout Major League Baseball.
· The Miami Marlins will host the Pittsburgh Pirates in a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 30th-31st with both games starting at 7:10 p.m. (ET). May 31st will represent Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball.
· Interleague series featuring prime rivals will be spread out over the season, and will be played in back-to-back two-game series with the host club shifting after two contests. The match-ups include: Pirates-Tigers (April 11th-14th); Brewers-Twins (April 18th-21st); Braves-Red Sox (April 25th-28th); Reds-Indians (May 16th-19th); Angels-Dodgers (May 16th-19th); Rays-Marlins (May 23rd-26th); Astros-Diamondbacks (May 30th-June 2nd); Padres-Mariners (May 30th-June 2nd); Blue Jays-Phillies (June 13th-16th); A's-Giants (June 27th-30th); Cardinals-Royals (June 27th-30th); Cubs-White Sox (July 25th-28th); Mets-Yankees (August 1st-4th); Rangers-Rockies (August 8th-11th); and Orioles-Nationals (August 22nd-25th).
· The 2016 All-Star Game, to be hosted by the San Diego Padres, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12th at Petco Park.