Major League Baseball unveiled its 2020 regular season schedule on Monday, highlighted by an April 28-30 series in San Juan, Puerto Rico between the Marlins and Mets. Hiram Bithorn Stadium will host the games, just as it did in 2018 when MLB action last came to the island (Twins and Indians).
“We are looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate Puerto Rico’s rich baseball heritage and passion for the game,” Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said in a statement (h/t Joe Frisaro, MLB.com), “and continue our mission to grow the game of baseball in our community while fostering the shared love for our national pastime.”
Newly promoted Marlins second baseman Isan Díaz was born in Puerto Rico and spent his very early childhood there before his family relocated to Massachusetts. Barring an offseason trade or another Yadiel Rivera call-up, Díaz projects to be the lone Puerto Rican on the club’s active roster for those three games.
The Puerto Rico Series should be fun opportunity for the Fish to capture international attention. They likely won’t be a legit postseason contender quite yet, but performing well on that stage could convince more fans to jump on the bandwagon!
As a result of this unique situation, Marlins Park will only host 78 games next year (rather than the usual 81).
My main takeaways from the rest of the schedule:
- Lots of variance to home start times. It used to be that fans could count on 7:10 p.m. without giving it a second thought, but this season (2019), the team experimented with moving Saturdays to 6:10 p.m. Taking that even further in 2020, all Monday-Thursday games in March, April, May and September are shifting to 6:40 (with the exception of Opening Day against the Phillies at 4:10). There will be 18 total games affected by this kid-friendly adjustment.
- April 16-30 is essentially one massive road trip, and the Marlins follow that up with games on 13 straight days. At least they get that stretch of the schedule out of the way relatively early in the year to minimize wear and tear.
- For the second straight campaign, ESPN does not intend to come to Marlins Park for Sunday Night Baseball at any point.
- The NL East matches up with the AL West in interleague play. The Rangers, Mariners and Mike Trout-led Angels come to town.
Which series are you already looking forward to?