MLB Opening Day
Every year, fans of America’s Pastime look forward to the end of Spring Training and the arrival of one of the most significant days in baseball: MLB Opening Day. The start of the MLB regular season, Opening Day is a day of festivity and celebration for baseball fans. So, what exactly is Opening Day? What is its history? What happens on Opening Day? Read on to find out.
- Date: March 30, 2023 (changes yearly)
- Best Winning Percentage: New York Mets (.656, 40-21)
- Most Home Runs (Across Career Opening Days): 8 (Frank Robinson)
- Best Hitting Percentage (Across Career Opening Days): Ted Williams (.449)
- Longest Game: 16 innings (2012, Blue Jays vs. Indians)
What Is MLB Opening Day?
MLB Opening Day is the first day of the MLB season, on which the first games of the season are played. Opening Day was created to be the first game of the 162 regular-season games that each MLB team will play. As a result, Opening Day is widely-anticipated, and fans flock to the hosting stadiums in order to watch their favorite teams kick off the season.
Where and When is Opening Day?
While the idea behind Opening Day implies that all 30 MLB teams will play a game that day, for many years, this has not been the case. In fact, since 1968, there has not been a single Opening Day on which all teams played, and the 2023 Opening Day is set to be the first since 1968 on which all 30 teams have a scheduled game.
The day set as Opening Day each year varies, but it is typically within the last week of March or the first week of April. In terms of hosting, Opening Day is hosted by whichever teams are at home during the games played on that day.
Opening Day History
Due to its special place in the baseball season, Opening Day has a long and storied history, filled with exciting events, memorable moments, and crazy facts that are too numerous to count. The first “Opening Day” in the history of baseball occurred on April 22, 1876, when the first-ever National League baseball game was played between the Philadelphia Athletics and the Boston Red Caps, who won the game 6-5.
As Opening Day grew more popular, one city, Cincinnati, became a major site for the festivities of the event. The city developed many of the common Opening Day traditions practiced in the modern era, such as inviting celebrities and dignitaries to partake in the festivities or throw out the first pitch, and hosting a pre-game parade. Cincinnati’s baseball team, the Reds, were the first officially recognized team in the National League, and as such, they received the honor of opening every season at their home field, being the only baseball team with the privilege. Thus, it is easy to understand why Opening Day still matters so much to Reds fans.
Across the history of Opening Day, many powerful and influential people have appeared as part of various teams’ opening events. Among these dignitaries have been several U.S. Presidents, who have developed a tradition of throwing out the first pitch at the game. The first President to appear at Opening Day was William Howard Taft, who attended the Washington Nationals’ Opening Day in 1910, throwing out the first pitch. Since then, almost every President has thrown out the first pitch on Opening Day.
Opening Day Records
A number of interesting historical and statistical events have occurred on Opening Day. In 1940, the first and only Opening Day no-hitter occurred, pitched by Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians. Statistically, the best hitter in Opening Day history is Ted Williams, who had a .449 average on Opening Day, with three home runs and 14 RBIs across 14 Opening Day games.
In 1974, legendary home run hitter Hank Aaron slammed his 714th home run on Opening Day, tying Babe Ruth’s home run record, which he would later break. Four MLB players have hit three home runs on Opening Day: George Bell, Tuffy Rhodes, Dmitri Young, and Matt Davidson. In 2012, the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays played the longest Opening Day Game ever, a 16-inning game which Toronto won 7-4.
Opening Day Events
Since Opening Day is celebrated all across America, there are various traditions and events that have occurred throughout the history of the day. These traditions often vary by the city where Opening Day is hosted, but they are always memorable and exciting. One of the most well-known Opening Day Events is Cincinnati’s annual Findlay Market Parade. St. Louis is known for incorporating Clydesdale horses into the Cardinals’ Opening Day festivities.
Many Opening Day traditions include music or song, such as the singing of “New York, New York” after a Yankees victory, or the first singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at Wrigley Field. Among baseball fans, Opening Day is often so beloved and important that workers will take sick days to watch the games or even pull their children out of school to enjoy the day.
What is Opening Day in the MLB?
Opening Day is the first day of the MLB season, on which the first games of the baseball season are played. Opening Day is one of the most anticipated days in all of baseball, and has developed a number of traditions, celebrations, and culture around its annual arrival, including parades, celebrity appearances, and even the throwing of the first pitch by the President of the United States.
When is MLB Opening Day?
Opening Day typically occurs during the last week of March or the first week of April. In 2023, MLB Opening Day will take place on March 30th. The earliest Opening Day in MLB history occurred on March 29, 2018.
How many teams play on Opening Day?
While Opening Day ideally consists of games played by all 30 MLB teams, 2023 will be the first time this has occurred since 1968, barring any postponements. Often, Opening Day has consisted of a few games on the first day of the season, followed by games between teams on the day after the scheduled season opener.