Reed Hoffman / AP
The opening day of the Premier Baseball League has finally come.
The league hopes to put uncertainty into the offseason as baseball starts running on a somewhat tight but full schedule of 162 games starting Thursday. Here’s everything you need to know.
Why the opening day delay?
The MLB season was originally scheduled to begin on March 31, but the league announced it was canceling the start of the 2022 regular season due to a breakdown in negotiations as the league and the players ’association extended a new collective agreement (CBA).
The MLB owners initially blocked the players on December 2, 2021, severing contact between the teams and their players until the lockout ended 99 days later. It was the first time MLB games were canceled as a result of a shutdown after a 1994-95 player strike.
As part of the new CBA, these canceled games will be squeezed into the regular gaming period, saving the full season from 162 games.
What has changed with the new agreement?
One of the biggest changes under the new CBA is that pitchers will no longer have to fight the bat in the National League. The American League has allowed designated strikers to take Peter’s place in rotation since 1973, but now that rule is universal for both leagues.
During the amazing 2020 season, MLB temporarily established a universally appointed striker, but the National League returned to its original rules in 2021. A universal striker for 2022 will now be appointed in both leagues.
Another big change this season will be expanding the group to the playoffs from 10 to 12 teams. The two best teams in each league will receive a farewell in the first round, and in each league a third team with a wildcard will be added.
One rule that hasn’t changed since its introduction during the pandemic is the “ghost runner” rule, which puts the runner at second base during extra innings to cut regular season games. There will be no “ghost runner” during the playoffs.
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One of the biggest stories in baseball last year was pitcher Los Angeles ’Shoshey Otani, who many say helps change the game. He not only dominated as a pitcher, but also distinguished himself as a reflector, committing 46 home runs last year. These are just two home runs from league leaders Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Salvador Perez.
In response, the MLB and MLB Players Association agreed to set up a universal designated striker, allowing teams that have assigned their pitcher a designated striker to continue striking even when they are pulled out of the mound. So even if a player like Ohtani can’t finish the game as a pitcher, he can continue to take the bits.
After some big deals, fans have new players to cheer for
This season, many teams will appear with new faces, as the flurry of off-season steps has led to clubs splashing out big money. One such team is the Texas Rangers, who spent more than $ 500 million on three players at the start of the free agency, adding to their list Cory Seeger, Marcus Semen and John Gray.
The New York Mets also spent big bucks this offseason, signing a three-year, $ 130 million deal with 37-year-old Max Scherzer. The team also led Marc Kanya, Eduardo Escobar and Starling Marte.
The Atlanta Braves World Series champions are looking to repeat this season after an exchange for Auckland Athletic first baseman and Atlanta-born Matt Olson. This forced the team to move away from fan favorite Freddie Freeman, who eventually joined the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Seattle Mariners are hoping to end their 20-season drought playoffs with the help of one of last season’s best pitchers, Robbie Ray. They also brought to the Cincinnati Reds all-star Jesse Winker to bolster their attack.
The Minnesota twins also made a sensation in the offseason by signing perhaps best free agent, Carlos Correa, to the richest deal with a free agent in the franchise’s history.
Who can we expect to see on the opening day?
One potentially piquant match on the first day is between reigning American League champion Houston Astra, who faces last year’s fan Shohei Ahtani, and “Los Angeles Angeles” at 9:38 p.m. ET.
Another match to watch is the return of Alberto Pujol to St. Louis, signing a one-year contract that returns him to the Cardinal. Before the lockout it was planned that St. Louis would open its season in Pittsburgh, but now they will open at home at Bush Stadium against Pittsburgh-Pirates.
The World Series champions will meet the Cincinnati Reds at home, where Braves will have a chance to lift last year’s title and hand out rings on the MLB opening night against a team that unloaded many of its stars in an attempt to cut wages.
The Mets are taking the national team to the District of Columbia, while the Milwaukee Brewers will travel to Wrigley Field to meet the Cubs.
The newly formed Cleveland Guardians will begin their season in Kansas City, where they will meet the royal team. And the San Diego Padres will travel to Arizona to meet with the Diamondbacks to complete the exciting opening day of baseball.