With spring training just over a month away, Major League Baseball has announced official start times for Opening Day 2013 (via Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk).
The first game of the season will take place on March 31 and feature two in-state rivals, as the Texas Rangers travel to Minute Maid Park to take on the Houston Astros in their first game as a member of the American League West.
After that brief taste of baseball, the season kicks into full gear with a slate of games on April 1. The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will be hoping that all their offseason spending makes them title contenders.
The Dodgers have been using all of their energy and resources to make sure they can get to where the Giants have been twice in the last three years. The Giants, on the other hand, used their money this offseason on bringing back all of their own key free agents.
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Other notable games taking place on April Fools' Day include the new-look Boston Red Sox going to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies taking on the Atlanta Braves, the Seattle Mariners at the Oakland Athletics, the St. Louis Cardinals at the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers at the Minnesota Twins.
ESPN will broadcast the Rangers-Astros game that opens the season, as well as a quadruple-header the next day with the Red Sox-Yankees, Giants-Dodgers, Phillies-Braves and Cardinals-Diamondbacks.
There is no shortage of baseball before the regular season starts, as pitchers and catchers will report on Feb. 12 and the World Baseball Classic runs from March 2-19.
Despite the frigid temperatures outside, spring is just around the corner. With it comes the hopes and dreams of 30 teams that will start their quests for immortality when the season begins on March 31.