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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 1:00 am

Briefs

Opener next year: March 29

Associated Press

NEW YORK – The 2018 Major League Baseball season will begin on March 29, the earliest start in the sport's history excluding international openers.

All teams will play on opening day for the first time since 1968, the last year before the American and National Leagues split into divisions, the commissioner's office said Tuesday.

As part of the sport's new labor contract, each team's 162 games were scheduled over 186 days, up from 183. The change was made to create more off days.

Previously, the earliest start except for international games was March 30 in 2003, 2008 and 2014.  

Nationals eye home-field advantage

As bottles of Korbel champagne sat inside lockers and some players wore the red “NL East Champions” shirts they received days earlier, the Washington Nationals tried quickly to move on to the next step.

The first team to pop bottles as division champions this season has bigger goals. Washington is only 3 1/2 games back of the languishing Los Angeles Dodgers, losers of 11 in a row, for home-field advantage throughout the postseason.