The 2011 major league season will begin for most teams on April 1, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports. The earlier start will allow the World Series to begin a week earlier and end in October rather than November.
The new setup — a Friday opening rather than a Sunday/Monday start — is in part a response to complaints that World Series teams are forced to play in November. Game 7 in this year’s Series is scheduled for Nov. 4; it’s set for Oct. 28 next year.
"Anything we could do to finish in October," baseball commissioner Bud Selig tells Nightengale, "is what I wanted to do. It shows how serious we are in doing this. I feel very good about it, and am pleased at everybody’s reaction.”
The players appear to be supportive.
"Starting the season mid-week, as we understand it, will allow for a much better postseason schedule than if we had the season begin on a Sunday night," said Michael Weiner, executive director of the players association. "We think that’s a positive step."
Rangers third baseman Michael Young tells Nightengale: "Watching the playoffs last year, you saw guys freezing out there in New York (at Yankee Stadium). That time of year, you expect cold."
Fox Sports president Ed Goren, whose network broadcasts the Series, says it’s not a given that the Fall Classic will be played in better weather. "I think the commissioner is sensitive to getting the postseason over in October. But I’ve been in cities where the weather is awful in mid-October, and beautiful the first of November," Goren tells Nightengale. "So if we’re playing Game 7 of the World Series on Oct. 28, and it’s snowed out, don’t blame baseball."
According to Nightengale, the regular season likely will officially begin March 25 or March 26, when the Giants and Diamondbacks begin a two-game series in Taiwan. That series is expected to be approved by MLB and the players. The season would end Wednesday, Sept. 28, and the division series would begin Friday, Sept. 30, or Saturday, Oct. 1. The World Series would begin Wednesday, Oct. 19.