The 2017 Spring Training exhibition schedule will begin on Wednesday, February 22nd as the Arizona Diamondbacks host Grand Canyon University at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona, Major League Baseball announced today. Official Grapefruit League and Cactus League games will begin on Friday, February 24th, while the first full slate of games involving all 30 Major League Clubs will take place on Saturday, February 25th.
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the new Grapefruit League home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach, Florida, will host its first game on Tuesday, February 28th, when the Nationals host the Astros. The Astros will play their first home game in the new facility on Wednesday, March 1st against the Miami Marlins.
The teams competing in the Miami, Florida pool (Pool C) and the Jalisco, Mexico pool (Pool D) of the 2017 World Baseball Classic will participate in exhibition games against Major League Clubs from Tuesday, March 7th through Thursday, March 9th. Teams representing the countries of Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and the United States will each play two games at Grapefruit League sites, while the teams of Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela will each compete in two contests at Cactus League sites. In addition, the two Semi-Finalist teams to advance from the second round in Tokyo, Japan (Pool E) will play exhibition games at Cactus League sites on Saturday, March 18th and Sunday, March 19th before heading to Los Angeles for the Championship Round of the World Baseball Classic from Monday, March 20th through Wednesday, March 22nd.
Among games being played outside of traditional Spring Training sites, split squads of the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers will play two games in San Antonio, Texas on Friday, March 17th and Saturday, March 18th; split squads of the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs will have two contests in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, March 25th and Sunday, March 26th; and select exhibition games at Major League and Minor League ballparks will be played from Thursday, March 30th through Saturday, April 1st.
ESPN will provide national coverage of seven 2017 Opening Day games on Sunday, April 2nd and Monday, April 3rd. The seven games on Sunday and Monday will include the participation of six Clubs that participated in the 2016 Postseason, including an exclusive ESPN "Sunday Night Baseball" national opener from Busch Stadium in St. Louis that will feature the defending World Series Champion Cubs visiting their NL Central division-rival St. Louis Cardinals at 8:30 p.m. (ET)/7:30 p.m. (CT).