The Toronto Blue Jays will begin next season on a lengthy road trip before returning home to a renovated Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays released their schedule for the 2023 season on Wednesday. Canada’s lone Major League Baseball team will open the season March 30 at St. Louis to begin a 10-game road trip that will include series against the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels.
Toronto’s home opener will be April 11 against the Detroit Tigers, and will be the Blue Jays’ first chance to show off the first phase of a planned $300-million overhaul to the venerable Rogers Centre.
The club says the first phase will include replacing all of the seats in the 500 level, including removing entire sections altogether and replacing them with spaces for spectators to congregate.
The Blue Jays will play 46 interleague games in 2023, more than twice as many as to previous seasons. That includes home series against San Francisco (June 27-29), Arizona (July 14-16) and San Diego (July 18-20). The Blue Jays will see those teams for the first time since 2019.
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Toronto will face American League East rivals New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in April and May, then not seeing either team again until the end of the season. The Blue Jays close out the season at home against the Yankees (Sept. 26-28) and Tampa Bay (Sept. 29- Oct. 1).
Two 10-game homestands mark the longest of the season: May 12-21 against Atlanta, the Yankees and Baltimore, and Sept. 8-17 versus Kansas City, Texas and Boston.
A notable road series for the Jays comes July 21-23 in Seattle. That series traditionally attracts many Jays supporters from Western Canada.
MLB sets balanced scheduled
Every major league team will play each other in the same season for the first time next year as the sport switches to its first balanced schedule since 2000.
As a result of the format switch agreed to in the March lockout settlement, high-profile games between division rivals such as New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals will be reduced from 19. Intradivision games will drop to 32 per cent from 47 per cent.
“I think it’s great for the fans,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m so tired of playing the same people.”
Major League Baseball said Wednesday it will open the 2023 season on March 30 and again will try to have every team start on the same day, which last occurred in 1968.
A team will play 13 games against each division rival for a total of 52 and six or seven against each other club in its league for a total of 64. The remaining 46 games are against interleague opponents: a home and road two-game series against a so-called natural rival and a single three-game series against each of the 14 other clubs in the opposite league.
The American League used a balanced schedule from 1977-2000 and the National League from 1993-2000, with interleague play starting in 1997 and limited to 15-18 games per season for each team. Then-commissioner Bud Selig had pushed for a return to an unbalanced schedule.
Next year’s start is the earliest since 2019. The season will revert to 186 days from the 182 it was shortened to this year due to the lockout.
Travel is roughly the same as the prior format, which had teams play 76 games against division foes, 66 against other clubs in the league (seven vs. six teams and six against four teams) and 20 interleague.
Every team is scheduled to play on Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, which falls on a Saturday.
The all-star game will be at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park on July 11, eight days earlier than this year’s game at Dodger Stadium. Then called Safeco Field, the ballpark hosted the 2001 All-Star Game.
No games are scheduled on the two days after the all-star game, creating a four-day break and leaving the second half to start July 14. The regular season ends Oct. 1.
The Cubs and Cardinals play a two-game series at London’s Olympic Stadium in June 24-25, and the Phillies and Nationals play in the Little League Classic at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 20.