Play Ball!

The Associated Press

As 22 of 30 Major League Baseball teams start the season equal in the standings at 0-0 today, Commissioner Rob Manfred celebrates the parity that characterizes baseball in the 21st Century.

“As we begin our 2016 regular season, millions of fans around the world can realistically hope that their team will be playing October baseball and contending for a World Championship,” the commissioner wrote in a letter to fans. “Our game is characterized by great competitive balance. The last five seasons have produced more playoff teams — 24 — than any such period in baseball history and we have now gone a record 15 straight years without a repeat World Series Champion.”

After the Blue Jays, Angels, Pirates, and Royals started the 2016 season with a win on Sunday, fans for 22 other ball clubs hope to begin the season in first place, too.

Opening Day action gets underway at 1 p.m. Eastern in New York with a rematch of last season’s American League Wild Card game as the Yankees host the Astros in a Masahiro Tanaka-Dallas Keuchel ace-versus-ace contest. Twelve hours or so of baseball continues through a 10:05 p.m. Eastern start in Oakland as the A’s host the White Sox, allowing fanatics to go from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. and perhaps beyond in a hardball marathon.

“Last year we worked with the players to create a noticeably faster and crisper pace to our games while maintaining the elements of baseball that make our sport so special,” Manfred wrote fans. “Baseball has shown that creativity need not come at the expense of the history and traditions that fans value. We will continue to embrace technology, which is symbolized in part by allowing our coaches and players to use iPads in our dugouts and bullpens for the first time.”

Manfred concludes, “Opening Day is a celebrated tradition. I hope that our fans can take a moment to enjoy the excitement with their family and friends. This Monday, I invite one and all to put their #CapsOn as we stand together and celebrate Opening Day.”



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