MLB to start 2011 season earlier

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 3:34 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball is planning to begin and end the 2011 season earlier than it has in recent years to avoid having World Series games played in November.

The season has started over the last handful of years with a nationally televised season opener on Sunday night which has been followed by a near full slate of games the next day.

Instead, play will begin next season on the preceding Thursday or Friday when many teams have been playing their last spring training games at neutral sites or major league parks around the country after leaving Florida and Arizona.

The 2011 season is tentatively scheduled to end on or around September 28 with the first round of the playoffs to begin a few days later. The World Series is slated to start Wednesday, October 19 which would allow a seven-game series to finish on October 27.

Commissioner Bud Selig indicated through the MLB.com story that owners have been discussing the idea for a few years and that it was also discussed by his special committee which was formed to investigate ways to improve the game.

Last year's World Series between the Yankees and Phillies and the 2001 Fall Classic between the Yankees and Diamondbacks both finished in November. The 2001 series was pushed back because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The MLB official cited in the story said the Players Association supports the new schedule, which is now being reviewed by the 30 owners and teams. A formal announcement could come as soon as early September.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a majority of teams started the season on a Friday was 1905.


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