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In hindsight, it would’ve been great if the White Sox, Yankees and Major League Baseball failed to announce next year’s Field of Dreams game before releasing the 2020 schedule. The fresh slate came out this afternoon, and I’d like to have seen the reaction to this box without prior explanation:
Alas, everybody knows the White Sox and Yankees will be playing in Dyersville, Iowa, in a temporary 8,000-seat stadium erected in on the Field of Dreams property.
As for the rest of the schedule, which you can see above, here’s what jumps out to me at first glance:
Opening Day: As usual, the White Sox open the season against the Royals, but March 26 is an unusually early date for the first game of the season.
Crosstown series: Another year with four Sox-Cubs games, but neither team gets a weekend. The White Sox host the Cubs in the middle of the week before the All-Star break, and then the Sox go to Wrigley Field on the first Monday and Tuesday of the second half.
Interleague trips: The White Sox play the NL West this year, and they get their hitting pitchers out of the way early. They’ll travel to Colorado for two games (April 28-29), and then spend six days in California playing the Giants (May 8-10) and Padres (May 11-13). The latter will be the White Sox’ first look at Fernando Tatis Jr. The Sox host two games against the Rockies, and three-game series against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.
AL Central: The Sox and Royals play nine times in April alone, and they’ll fulfill half their obligations to the Twins by the end of May. Meanwhile, they won’t see Detroit until the first weekend of June, but they’ll catch up in a hurry with 10 games against the Tigers that month.
Unusual road trips: The White Sox don’t have any killer road trips on paper. They have an eight-gamer split between Minnesota and Baltimore in May, exceeded by one game and two days on a swing from Houston to Detroit to Cleveland.
Dog days: Should the White Sox somehow find themselves in contention in the second half, their mettle will be tested starting in late August with consecutive series against the Red Sox, Astros, Rays, Twins and Dodgers, with Labor Day off in the middle.
Big draws: White Sox attendance figures benefited from a favorable schedule this season, with big weekend series against the Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs. Next year, only the Yankees will visit the Sox on a weekend, and the Sox will lose one of those home gates to the Field of Dreams game. The White Sox will need to figure out a few more promotions to offset those losses.