The Toronto Blue Jays released their 2018 schedule yesterday, and fans were in for some schedule tinkering in relation to start times throughout the course of the year. Here is your guide and things to note surrounding the 2018 schedule.
1. Home Opener
The Honda Home Opener is on Thursday March 29th against the New York Yankees. This is the first time since 2013 that the Blue Jays will open the season at home, and it makes sense considering the MLB has pushed back the start of the baseball season to very late March to allow for more off days through the course of the season. The roof is likely a major consideration with the Jays opening at home in 2018.
The other thing of note for the 2018 schedule is the start time for the Home Opener. For the first time in 12 years as a die-hard Blue Jays fan (since 2005), the Home Opener will NOT be at 7:07. Instead, the Blue Jays have opted for a 3:37PM start time, which is more along the lines with the other major league ball clubs with their afternoon Home Openers. I don’t believe there will be any danger of the afternoon Home Opener not being sold out, but it will be interesting to see how fans react. Perhaps there will be less hooligans in the 500 level compared to 7:07 Home Openers!
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2. Saturday Games
The second thing to note about the 2018 schedule is the Saturday games. Back before 2006, the Blue Jays used to play their Saturday games at 4:07 in the afternoon, much like other clubs. However, in 2006 the Blue Jays and Paul Beeston opted to permanently switch to 1:07 start times to not compete with other TV networks, to accommodate Jr. Jays Saturday’s, and to be unique as there were times the Blue Jays and their opponents were the only game at 1:07 pm on a Saturday.
Now, the Blue Jays have switched to 4:07 pm home games for nine Saturday games. 4 Saturday games will remain at 1:07 pm. Here is a list of the Saturday games at the start times:
- Saturday, March 31st: 4:07 pm vs. New York Yankees
- Saturday, April 28th: 4:07 pm vs. Texas Rangers
- Saturday, May 12th: 4:07 pm vs. Boston Red Sox
- Saturday, May 19th: 1:07 pm vs. Oakland Athletics
- Saturday, June 9th: 1:07 pm vs. Baltimore Orioles
- Saturday, June 16th: 4:07 pm vs. Washington Nationals
- Saturday, June 30th: 1:07 pm vs. Detroit Tigers
- Saturday, July 7th: 4:07 pm vs. New York Yankees
- Saturday, July 21st: 1:07 pm vs. Baltimore Orioles
- Saturday, August 11th: 4:07 pm vs. Tampa Bay Rays
- Saturday, August 25th: 4:07 pm vs. Philadelphia Phillies
- Saturday, September 8th: 4:07 pm vs. Cleveland Indians
- Saturday, September 22nd: 4:07 pm vs. Tampa Bay Rays
It’s impossible to tell how and why the Blue Jays determined which games remained at 1:07, but from the opponents that play at 4:07 pm, it seems they’re the “better” teams, and “weaker” teams at 1:07pm. Some of the 4:07 games are priced more than the 1:07 games as well. I am in favour of the 4:07 games and based on the reaction from fans on Twitter, they are too.
3. Home Games & Series to Watch
- Thursday, March 29th: 3:37 pm vs. New York Yankees
- Home Opener
- Friday, April 27th-29th: vs. Texas Rangers
- Rougned Odor comes to town
- Friday, May 11th-13th: vs. Boston Red Sox
- First weekend home series with the Red Sox
- Friday, June 15th-17th: vs. Washington Nationals
- Bryce Harper comes to Toronto
- Sunday, July 1st: 1:07 vs. Detroit Tigers
- Canada Day
- Tuesday, July 3rd-4th: vs. New York Mets
- Noah Syndergaard comes to Toronto
- Thursday, September 6th-9th: vs. Cleveland Indians
- Edwin Encarnacion’s second visit to Toronto
- Wednesday, September 26th: 4:07 vs. Houston Astros
- Final home game of the year
4. Highlighted Road Trips
- Friday, April 13th-15th: at Cleveland Indians
- Tuesday, May 15th-16th: at New York Mets
- Friday, May 25th-27th: at Philadelphia Phillies
- Friday, June 1st-3rd: at Detroit Tigers
- Thursday, July 12th-15th: at Boston Red Sox
- Thursday, August 2nd-5th: at Seattle Mariners
- Friday, August 31st-September 2nd: at Miami Marlins
The Toronto Blue Jays schedule looks like a good one! You can see the influence of Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins with the Saturday 4:07 start times and the afternoon Home Opener, both of which are similar to the Cleveland Indians schedule. Comment your favourite aspect of the schedule in the comments box.