Must-See Events of the Upcoming 2013 MLB Season
The 2013 MLB season will feature some must-see events, courtesy of its new interleague schedule and intriguing matchups caused by player movement.
For the first time since interleague play began in 1997, each team has the same exact schedule. Each team plays division foes 76 times, other league foes 66 times and will play 20 interleague games.
It's not perfect, but it's a start.
This year, some intriguing matchups will be on tap, and we have highlighted eight matchups that just might be must-see events.
Let's take a look.
Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers: April 5
On April 5, the Texas Rangers host the Los Angeles Angels in the first of their 19 games.
For the Rangers, it will be the first time they will see Josh Hamilton travel to their park in an opposing uniform.
Rangers fans will likely have plenty to boo about, as Hamilton and C.J. Wilson—who also bolted from Arlington to Anaheim—partner with the Angels to help take down their former mates.
Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals: April 30
On April 30, the Tampa Bay Rays will travel to Kauffman Stadium to take on the Kansas City Royals.
It will certainly be a strange day for James Shields, who prior to this season had never played for anyone other than the Rays.
Ditto for Wade Davis, who played the first four years of his career in Tampa Bay as well.
Shields will likely go down as one of the most successful pitchers in Rays history. However, he will do his level-best to take down the Rays in any way possible, when his new Royals team faces them for the first time.
On the flip side, top-hitting prospect Wil Myers may or may not be in the lineup to bash against the team who drafted him in 2009. It's Myers' eventual production that will determine just how good this trade was for Tampa Bay.
If he succeeds in meeting expectations, Royals fans will have a new reason to hate Tampa Bay every time they visit Kauffman Stadium.
Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks: May 13
On May 13, Justin Upton will really have the opportunity to find out what his former hometown fans really think about him.
Upton's new team, the Atlanta Braves, travel to Chase Field to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks to start a three-game series on that day.
Upton will be patrolling the area, formerly known as Uptown, for the first time in an opposing uniform.
It was fairly obvious from the start of Kevin Towers' regime in Arizona that a long-term relationship just wasn't meant to be. On May 13, Upton will have the chance to find out what fans really think of him in his return.
Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays: May 6
A series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays isn't altogether special—the two have played each other countless times since 1998.
However, it's not often that a potential matchup between reigning Cy Young Award winners occurs.
That could very well happen when the two teams meet for a four-game series on May 6 at Tropicana Field.
You could look into the records books and not find very many instances in which reigning Cy Young Award pitchers faced each other the following year—especially in the same league.
But that could be an eventuality—David Price and R.A. Dickey could very well match up against each other more than once this season, starting in early May.
Texas Rangers at Houston Astros: March 31
The Houston Astros will begin life in the American League next season—and they'll make that new beginning on national television—courtesy of ESPN.
The Astros will take on the Texas Rangers on March 31 in the nationally televised event. While the Astros will likely struggle with a payroll somewhere slightly south of $30 million, fans can see the new Texas rivalry being heavily promoted, with the two teams now facing each other 19 times a year in the same division.
ESPN will no doubt play up the fact that Lance Berkman shunned the Astros in favor of the Rangers as well.
Hey, they have to create some kind of compelling copy for the event, right?
Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers: May 27
In 2013, the Freeway Series will be downsized, but it won't be any less compelling.
The Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers will meet just four times this coming season in consecutive two-game series at each park beginning on May 27.
However, this year the series takes on a little extra meaning, as Zack Greinke will pitch in his new L.A. uniform.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto traded away three Top 25 organizational prospects in order to acquire Greinke last July. He then had to stand by and watch as his counterpart to the West ponied up a considerable amount of coin to acquire Greinke this offseason.
While the four games between the two rivals may not mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, it's nonetheless going to make for some compelling drama.
New York Yankees at Houston Astros: Sept. 29
The New York Yankees will travel to Houston to take on the Astros for their final three-game series of the year.
It could well be the final time fans have a chance to see legendary closer Mariano Rivera in pinstripes.
Rivera is returning for a 19th season this year, putting a cap on a career that has been nothing short of remarkable.
However, with the AL East Division becoming much more competitive, there's no guarantee that the Yankees play-on past the regular season.
Sept. 29 well could be the last time fans have a chance to witness Rivera in action.
Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Yankees: June 18
Interleague play has been going on in baseball since 1997. However, fans will witness a great historic rivalry unfold in modern history this year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers travel to Yankee Stadium to take on the Bronx Bombers on June 18. For some reason, the baseball scheduling gurus never deemed the rivalry important enough to send L.A. to New York before.
Not since the 1981 World Series have the Dodgers played in New York.
It will also mark the return of Yankee fan-favorite Don Mattingly, who spent his entire 14-year playing career in pinstripes.
For fans of old baseball, this is a series to mark prominently on the calendar.