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Seattle Mariners 2019 schedule: Japan, the Cubs, and nonsensical road trips

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Padres, and Tigers, and Cubs, oh my!

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
The last time the A’s and Mariners met in Tokyo. No, I don’t know what’s happening here either.
Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

This morning the Mariners released their 2019 schedule. The big news is, of course, their opening series in Japan against the Oakland Athletics, March 20-21. The Mariners’ Spring Training schedule hasn’t been released yet, but based on those dates it looks like there will be a few Spring Training games to be played following the series in Tokyo. 2019 will also be the year of the NL Central, so we can look forward to flocks of the Best Fans in Baseball as well as an army of Anthony Rizzo/Kris Bryant jerseys.

Seattle will both open and close out the season at home, which is always the most important takeaway in my mind. There’s never the same sort of excitement when they open the season on the road, and away finales always feel like they lack closure. Next year they’ll open with a four game series against the Red Sox, and my mind and bank account are filled with anxiety at the prospect of facing off against Boston bats and seemingly double marquee pricing. Inexplicably they follow that up with a two game series against the Angels. I thought my vision was just bad after sitting out in the smoke last night, but nope. Their final homestand features another bizarre two-game, inter-division series against the Astros, because apparently MLB schedulers thrive on micro-chaos, and a four game grudge match against Oakland. All I hope for in that finale is that the Mariners are still playing relevant baseball (and, okay, yes, I hope the A’s are no longer good).

Other notes of weirdness:

  • Weekly off-days in the last three weeks of the season
  • Their big June road trip consists of a truly bizarre Los Angeles-Minnesota-Oakland adventure
  • Their late August, early September Texas-Chicago-Houston trip is only slightly less nonsensical
  • They’re on the road for the only Pittsburgh series, which is wildly disappointing because the Pirates are one of my favorite non-Mariners teams
  • There’s a lil two-game road series against our “rival” Padres in April, and I’m already looking for flights
  • The Cleveland (assuming they decide to be genuinely good again, and not just AL Central good), New York, Boston road trip at the start of May is about as close to a gauntlet as this schedule demands, save for a June that features just two off days
MLB

What seems like the most challenging stretch to you? Any must-see series?