Major League Baseball has one of the longest seasons of any of the professional sports organizations, with each team playing 162 regular season games in addition to postseason games for a select few, spread out over half of the calendar year. Opening Day for all 30 teams takes place in late March or early April, with the final regular season pitch thrown in late September or early October.
The 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros will look to hold off a loaded field of contenders as they defend their first championship. Last year's runners-up, the Los Angeles Dodgers, will also face stiff competition from not only a tough league, but a division that featured three playoff teams last year.
Some of the headlining moves that could have an impact on the pennant races include the New York Yankees trading for Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins, Yu Darvish signing with the Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, the San Francisco Giants trading for Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen, and the Los Angeles Angels adding prized free agent Shohei Ohtani, Zack Cozart and Ian Kinsler.
While big matchups like Yankees vs. “insert team name here”, Giants vs. Dodgers, Rangers vs. Astros, and Cubs vs. Cardinals still carry weight in determining the average ticket prices for the MLB season, one factor that outweighs them all is a team's opening day game. As with all things, demand drives inflation and with more than half of the teams in the MLB seeing more than a 20 percent increase in attendance for home openers in recent years, it's no wonder why opening day is such a celebrated event in Major League Baseball.