BOSTON - The A's 2018 schedule features some unique twists, including an afternoon season opener at home for just the second time in 41 years.
Oakland will host the Los Angeles Angels in a 1:05 p.m. game to open the regular season on March 29, a Thursday. That's the earliest that Major League Baseball has ever begun its regular season, the exception being some occasional, isolated games played outside of the United States.
The A's haven't played a home opener under the sun since 1994.
Another noteworthy item from the early-season schedule. The April 17 home game against the White Sox - on the 50th anniversary of the A's first game at the Coliseum - will be free admission to all fans. The A's are promoting that as one of the first of its kind in major league history.
Also, the Bay Bridge Series will return to a six-game format, with each team hosting three. The A's-Giants rivalry series will bookend the All-Star break, with the Giants hosting games July 13-15, and the series shifting to the Coliseum on July 20-22.
The A's play the National League West in interleague competition. They'll host Arizona (May 25-27), San Diego (July 3-4) and the Dodgers (Aug. 7-8). Oakland travels to Dodger Stadium (April 10-11), San Diego (June 19-20) and Colorado (July 27-29).
Compared to past seasons, the A's also score a bit of a break on the travel miles they'll rack up. A frequent complaint of team officials has been that, since the Astros joined the American League West, the MLB schedule makers never have grouped the Rangers and Astros together on the same road trip for the A's. That's meant six separate trips to the state of Texas and some challenging routing adventures in the A's road schedule.
Next season, the A's at least catch one break on that front, as they get the Rangers and Astros together from April 23-29.