BASEBALL 2010: Key dates for the upcoming season
A look at where and when to watch during the 2010 major league season. The key dates:
New York Yankees at Boston: The World Series champion Yankees are sure to get a chilly reception when they start their title defense at Fenway Park. Boston lost nine of its last 10 games against New York last year but cleaned up in free agency over the winter, adding ace John Lackey, infielders Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre, and outfielder Mike Cameron.
Boston at Minnesota: The Twins play the Red Sox in the first regular-season game at open-air Target Field, which cost $545 million and has a 40,000-seat capacity. Minnesota's new home includes rooftop seating, a statue of Kirby Puckett and restaurants named after former Twins stars Harmon Killebrew and Kent Hrbek. Watch the thermometer, it'll be quite a change after nearly three decades inside the Metrodome.
St. Louis at Philadelphia: The Phillies and Cardinals meet in the opener of a four-game series between defending division champions, part of a 10-game homestand for Philadelphia that also includes sets against the New York Mets and Atlanta. Philadelphia hammered St. Louis last season, winning four of five while outscoring the Cardinals 40-24. Adding to the buzz, the Albert Pujols-for-Ryan Howard trade talk.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado: The top two finishers in the NL West last season begin a weekend series at Coors Field. The Dodgers and Rockies were quiet over the winter, but return loaded lineups and solid pitching staffs. Los Angeles went 14-4 against Colorado on its way to winning the 2009 division title by three games.
Philadelphia at New York Yankees: The defending champs welcome the Phillies back to Yankee Stadium for the first time since beating them 7-3 in Game 6 last November. The rematch gained a little more heat with Philadelphia's winter deal for ace right-hander Roy Halladay, who is 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 37 career games against New York.
All-Star game: The Angels host the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 1989, when Bo Jackson led off with a 448-foot homer and was the MVP. The AL is still winning - 12-0-1 since a loss in 1996, the longest unbeaten streak in All-Star history. Once again, the league that wins gets home-field advantage in the World Series.
Seattle at Los Angeles Angels: Chone Figgins gets a chance to hurt his former team when the retooled Mariners open their only four-game series of the season against the AL West champion Angels. Figgins left Los Angeles in December, moving up the West Coast for a $36 million, four-year contract. He is expected to play second base and team with Ichiro Suzuki to give the Mariners a dynamic top of the order.
Hall of Fame inductions: Andre Dawson gets a Montreal Expos hat for his Cooperstown plaque, despite his preference for a Chicago Cubs cap. The Hawk was an eight-time All-Star outfielder, hitting 438 homers with 1,591 RBIs in a career that spanned 1976-96. He gets inducted into the shrine with manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey.
Trade deadline: The last chance for teams to make deals without having to pass players through waivers first. Always some action on this day.
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis: In an unusual scheduling quirk, this is Chicago's first game of the season at NL Central rival St. Louis. Chris Carpenter went 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts against the Cubs in 2009 as the Cardinals went 10-6 in the season series and won the division by 7 1/2 games over Chicago.
Minnesota at Detroit: This the final meeting - ahem, scheduled meeting - between the AL Central contenders. The Twins chased down the Tigers on the final weekend of last season and won a tiebreaker game 6-5 in 12 innings for their fifth division title in eight years.
Philadelphia at Atlanta: If the Braves fail to make the playoffs, this would be Bobby Cox's last game as Atlanta's manager. Cox insists he's stepping aside after this season, ending a terrific run in the dugout that included 14 consecutive postseason appearances and the 1995 World Series title.