You heard it correctly, the 2014 schedule has been released. Let's take a look at things month-by-month.
March: The month should include the typical Spring Training games and a preseason Bay Bridge series, but the real highlight will be on March 31, when the A's open the season against ... someone other than the Mariners? YES! The Indians will be opening the season at the Coliseum. Around the league, the Dodgers will open the season in Australia with the Diamondbacks and the Rangers will host the Phillies.
April: Ah, there are those pesky Mariners. Of the 9 series played in April, 7 will be against AL West opponents. The A's will play the Twins' home opener on April 7, and then get April 8 off before concluding the series on the 9th and 10th. There are home and away series against every division opponent, with the exception of the Angels, who will not travel to the Coliseum in April.
May: Just 2 of the 9 series in May will feature division opponents. The month ends with the Angels' first trip to Oakland in 2013. The month includes both a nine-game, ten-day three-team homestand followed by a road trip of the same nature. The road trip will send the A's to Cleveland, Tampa and Toronto. The homestand will feature the return of Gio Gonzalez! The Nationals visit the Coliseum for a weekend set from the 9th through the 11th. The Tigers come to town for a four-game set that kicks off on Memorial Day, the 26th.
June: A road-heavy month, with 15 of 26 games away from the Coliseum. The home slate features 10 games in 10 days against the Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox. The final game of the Yankee series will be played on June 15, Father's Day. The month concludes with interleague play. The A's will play the away portion of their home-and-home with the Mets. This year, the A's did so against the Reds. They will also make their first trip to Marlins Park.
July: The Blue Jays will come to town for Independence Day. The All-Star Game will be played on the 15th at Target Field in Minnesota. The Bay Bridge Series will once again be played as four days in two cities. The A's host games on July 7 and 8 and then head to ATandT on the 9th and 10th. No division opponents will be heard from until the last 9 games of the month, which will be played against the Astros and Rangers.
August: The A's will play 29 games in the 31-day month. August takes care of most a stretch in which they play 41 games in 45 days. The month opens with a 10-game homestand against Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Minnesota. The Mets come to town on the 19th and 20th. That could mean homecoming for Bob Geren! Will you cheer him, boo him or sniff your finger in solidarity? The road slate in August includes a weekend in Atlanta and four-game sets in Kansas City and Anaheim.
September: The regular season concludes with 15 of the last 26 at home. The Phillies will visit the Coliseum from the 19th through the 21st as the middle portion of a nine-game homestand bookended by the Rangers and Angels. The final home game of the year will be played on Wednesday, September 24 against Anaheim. The season will conclude with four games at Texas.
What we know: The interleague schedule features home series with the Phillies and Nationals, with the home-and-home against the Mets. I had forecasted a home-and-home with Washington, and home series with New York and Atlanta. Gio Gonzalez and Bob Geren should both return to the Coliseum during interleague play. We also know that the interleague rivalry series will take the same format as last year, but they will not all be played around Memorial Day. The games are spread out.
What we don't know: Game times and promotions are yet to be announced, and will most likely not be announced for a couple of months. We also don't know how friendly or unforgiving the schedule will be. "Experts" often assume which team has the softest schedule without realizing that there will be all sorts of free agent signings, trades and injuries. We also don't know when Jeff Francoeur will come to the Coliseum. We may not know until after Spring Training next year. The Spring Training schedule is yet to be released.
What do you think of the 2014 itinerary? Let us know in the comments!