The second World Baseball Classic is finished, and the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues are wrapping up for another year. Here are several important dates for the regular season, starting with another celebration in the City of Brotherly Love:

Sunday, April 5:

Atlanta at Philadelphia: So much for an easy start for the world champion Phillies, who kick off the season with a three-game set against one of their biggest NL East rivals. The Braves rebuilt their rotation in the offseason, adding Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez and Kenshin Kawakami, and are hoping to make their first postseason appearance since 2005.

Monday, April 13:

San Diego at New York Mets: It’s the first of two regular-season stadium openings in New York when the Mets host the Padres at $800 million Citi Field, which includes subtle nods to memorable stadiums like the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field and holds about 42,000.

Thursday, April 16:

Cleveland at New York Yankees: New York plays its first regular-season game at the $1.5 billion new Yankee Stadium, which features a Hard Rock Cafe, martini bar, steak house and art gallery. Get ready for some early Bronx cheers if Indians right-hander Carl Pavano gets the start and does well against his former team.

Friday, May 22:

San Francisco at Seattle: Randy Johnson, who signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Giants, enters the season needing just five wins to reach 300 for his career. What better spot for the milestone victory than Seattle, where the Big Unit rose to prominence in the 1990s.

Tuesday, June 9:

Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay: The Angels finish off a nine-game, 10-day road trip with three at the defending AL East champs, starting with this Tuesday night matchup. The Rays went 6-3 against the AL West winners last year.

Friday, June 19:

Atlanta at Boston: The Braves and Red Sox play two three-game sets in June, giving John Smoltz a little extra motivation for his rehab from major shoulder surgery. Smoltz, the only player with 200 wins and 150 saves in baseball history, finalized an acrimonious split with the Braves after 20 seasons when he joined Boston in January.

Friday, July 10:

Chicago White Sox at Minnesota: The Twins entertain the defending AL Central champions on the final weekend of the first half. The White Sox beat Minnesota 1-0 in a 163rd-game tiebreaker for the division crown last year.

Tuesday, July 14:

All-Star game: St. Louis hosts the All-Star game for the fifth time and first since the National League beat the American League 2-1 in 10 innings in 1966. The 80th All-Star game also will be the first Midsummer Classic at the new Busch Stadium, the Cardinals’ $365 million home that opened in 2006.

Sunday, July 26:

Hall of Fame inductions: Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice and former Yankees and Indians second baseman Joe Gordon, elected posthumously by the Veterans Committee, go into the Hall in what’s sure to be a memorable ceremony. Rice made it in on his final try on the writers’ ballot and Henderson, the quintessential leadoff hitter, almost certainly will put on a show when it comes time for his Cooperstown speech.

Friday, July 31:

Trade deadline: The last chance for teams to make deals without having to pass players through waivers first.

Friday, August 21:

Philadelphia at New York Mets: The NL East rivals meet in the opener of their only four-game series of the season. The Phillies rallied past New York to win the division in each of the previous two seasons, a source of much consternation for Mets fans.

Monday, Sept. 7:

Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona: Get ready for another wild year in the wide-open NL West, where the division-winning Dodgers finished two games better than the Diamondbacks after acquiring Manny Ramirez in a deadline deal. Their final regular-season series begins with a rare Monday matinee.

Monday, Sept. 21:

Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee: Lou Piniella and Chicago travel to Milwaukee, where die-hard Cubs fans have filled the stands at Miller Park of late to root for the two-time defending NL Central champs. The Brewers’ rotation took a big hit in the offseason but they could be Chicago’s biggest challengers again after consecutive second-place finishes.

Friday, Sept. 25:

Boston at New York Yankees: The final regular-season series between the AL East rivals is at New York’s new home. Both teams were looking up at Tampa Bay when the season ended last year. The Red Sox responded with an offseason of subtle tweaks to their roster while the Yankees made a big splash in free agency, adding CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira.


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