(Bud) Selig announced on January 19, 2000, that the 30 Major League Club owners voted unanimously to centralize all of Baseball's Internet operations into an independent technology company.
The early start date stems from a provision in the new collective bargaining agreement that calls for three to four additional off days to be spread throughout the season. The new format extends the length of the season by adding an additional weekend of play at the beginning of the season. The 2018 season will kick off on March 29, giving it the earliest start in the history of the league (excluding special global games).
The major takeaway here is just how damn early Opening Day is, and the fact that the season is going to last an extra few days instead of getting cut down by a couple weeks (as many claim would be best for the game).
This does not affect the beginning of the full-season Minor League Baseball season, set for a week later on April 5. March 29th marks the earliest Opening Day in MLB history, while also making the first season since 2011 that begins on Thursday and the first season since 1968 where the entire league starts play on the same day.
Only time will tell if these changes become permanent fixtures on the Major League Baseball schedule, but getting the Opening Day confusion cleared up should be a huge positive.
The Reds will play the AL Central in interleague play.
The final day of the 2018 regular season, featuring 12 divisional games, is scheduled for Sunday, September 30. Other important dates next season include Jackie Robinson Day on Sunday, April 15th; a two-game series between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 17th-18th; the first day of the 2018 MLB Draft on Monday, June 4th; and Baseball's All-Star Week at Nationals Park in Washington, DC from Sunday, July 15th through Tuesday, July 17th, culminating with the 89th Midsummer Classic.