MLB Opening Day: Where to Watch Five Classic Season Openers on Thursday

One of the most striking aspects of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown has been the absence of live sports on TV. With almost every league across the world suspended or postponed due to the global pandemic, networks have resorted to wheeling out classic games and highlight reels as fans look to quench their sport thirst by whichever means necessary.

NFL free agency has been the only sporting event that carried on as normal despite the COVID-19 outbreak, but even that's running out of steam now that all the major chips have fallen. While NBA and NHL fans have had to deal with their sports being abruptly taken off air, MLB fans did not even have the luxury of witnessing the season get underway, as Opening Day was scheduled for Thursday.

With one of the showpiece events of the U.S. sporting calendar postponed indefinitely MLB Network will attempt to soften the blow by airing a marathon of great Opening Day moments, featuring five complete games.

Proceedings get underway at 12 p.m. ET with MLB Tonight, before the re-air of the New York Yankees' trip to Cleveland on Opening Day in 1996. Making his MLB debut, Derek Jeter marked his arrival in the major with a home run as the both him and the team set the tone for a season that would end with Jeter landing the Rookie of the Year Award, while the Yankees claimed the World Series.

Following Jeter's heroics, attention switches to the Los Angeles Dodgers welcoming the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day 2013, with Clayton Kershaw pitching a shutout and hitting a home run for the Dodgers. Kershaw's performance was a sign of things to come, as he ended the season with a second Cy Young Award in three seasons, which he then successfully retained the following season.

The Giants feature again at 6 p.m. ET, with a re-air of their Opening Day game in Arizona against the Diamondbacks three years ago, which saw Madison Bumgarner and Zach Greinke go head-to-head in a pitching contest for the ages. The penultimate game on the schedule features the Colorado Rockies hosting the San Diego Padres in arguably one of the most exciting Opening Day games in the last two decades. The two teams scored a combined 22 runs as the lead changed more frequently than in an NBA game.

The final act of this year's unusual Opening Day comes at midnight, with MLB Network broadcasting the New York Mets' trip to Chicago on Opening Day in 1994, which saw Cubs' outfielder Tuffy Rhodes smash three home runs.

All five games will be available on TV via MLB Network and can be streamed via MLB At Bat and and on connected devices.

Here's the complete schedule of games that will air on Thursday (all times ET)

  • 1 p.m.—New York Yankees @ Cleveland Indians, April 2, 1996
  • 4 p.m.—San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers, April 1, 2013
  • 6 p.m.—San Francisco Giants @ Arizona Diamondbacks, April 2, 2017
  • 9 p.m.—San Diego Padres @ Colorado Rockies, April 4, 2005
  • 12 a.m.—New York Mets @ Chicago Cubs, April 4, 1994
MLB, Opening Day
A detailed view of a pair of official Rawlings Major League Baseball baseballs with the imprinted signature of Robert D. Manfred Jr., the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, sitting in the dugout prior to the Spring Training game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 1 in Lakeland, Florida. Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos/Getty