The offseason is not even two weeks old and ESPN is already announcing plans for Opening Day 2024. It was announced on Monday that the Texas Rangers would be hosting MLB's Opening Night on ESPN. ESPN does not do this every year, but when they do, it is an honor given to the reigning World Series champion. Texas as the reigning World Series champion and already scheduled to open the 2024 season at home had their Opening Day game flexed to primetime.
Opening Day changes as announced by ESPN
The Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs were scheduled to open up the season on March 28th at 3:05pm. ESPN announced that they will change the start time to 6:30pm on that same day. They will air a special Baseball Tonight episode leading into the game that will start at 5:30pm. They will air any pregame World Series celebrations that the Texas Rangers decide to do in that hour.
The celebrations will likely include the handing out of the World Series rings, unveiling of the World Series banner, and then air the starting lineup introductions. I would fully expect a Texas Rangers legend will throw out the first pitch. The Rangers are going to want to do this up big especially now that the game will be aired to a national audience.
The Texas Rangers are not the only reason ESPN chose to air this game. On the other side of the field will be the Chicago Cubs. This will be new manager Craig Counsell's first game as the Cubs manager. Counsell was just introduced as the Cubs' manager on Monday. There will be some intrigue in the Cubs' dugout with that major change plus any moves the Cubs make in the offseason. Bruce Bochy showed how big of an impact a great manger can make on a franchise. The Cubs are hoping for a similar level of success from Counsell.
The Texas Rangers Victory Tour in the 2024 Season
The Texas Rangers as the World Series champions will be honored on Opening Night. They also will likely see an increase in the amount of nationally televised games by ESPN and Fox. Globe Life Field will host the All Star week in 2024. I would fully expect in late June for Texas to be honored at the White House while in Baltimore for a four-game series.
The Texas Rangers team will have to find a way to balance these honors and the focus of the media and fans on 2023 with trying to have the best season possibly in 2024. Bruce Bochy has won four World Series now, In the prior three his teams failed to repeat and even worse failed to even make the playoffs the following season. Texas will be looking to reverse a trend from Bochy's career. Before they can do that they will have to spend a night remember the success from 2023 before being moving on to the 2024 season.