The San Francisco Giants have announced their 2024 schedule. It looks like the Giants deleted their formal Schedule Release tweet, but I had it opened in another tab, so, I’m going to work off that one and you can spot the differences when they redo it.
(Click on the images to enlarge)
The season kicks off on Thursday, March 28, 2024 with a seven-game road trip: four in San Diego and three against the Dodgers. If Shohei Ohtani makes a start in that series, will it be as a Giant or a Dodger? By the way, I think this might be why they pulled the initial tweet. As you can see in the graphic above, they have Opening Day as Friday, March 29th.
With the new scheduling formula making it so that the Giants play every team, there’s not very much to get excited over. The Giants faced off against Aaron Judge on Opening Day this season which capped a compelling offseason storyline, but guess what? They’re going to see him again in 2024, May 31-June 2nd... ::sigh:: I guess unless they see him in the World Series this season.
Interleague might’ve added a little bit of juice to the schedule each season, but once that expanded from a segment to the whole season it lost all its luster. And now “balance” has erased all excitement, because excitement is an unbalanced reaction. Way to go, nerds! I don’t want to bullet point the rest of this post, though, so let’s go by month.
The seven-game Southern California road trip precedes a six-game homestand to kick off Oracle Park’s 2024, so, you could say that the Giants will spend the first baker’s dozen of games in California before traveling to Florida for six (three against the Rays, three against the Marlins). They’ll get no off day between the Florida getaway and their next series, a four-gamer against the Diamondbacks before facing the Mets for three.
Even without knowing what shape the Pirates franchise will be in next season and even with the final full series of the season being at Oracle against them, I’m going to declare this a tough start to the baseball season.
Technically, the Giants will have started a three-game set against the Red Sox on April 30th, but when it wraps on May 2nd, the Giants will then travel to Philadelphia for four and then play a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday series in Colorado — is that right? Is this schedule right? I don’t know. I’m not waiting for a correction. That’s wild to me! I can’t remember the last time I saw a Tuesday-Thursday series. Please don’t put in the comments that the Giants have played x number of Tuesday-Thursday series already this season. I legitimately do not remember.
Anyway, Boston-Philadelphia-Colorado will be hell on the pitching staff, but maybe it’ll serve as a chance to showcase the Giants’ new and improved lineup? They’ll come home for a nine-game homestand against the Reds, Dodgers, and Rockies. The Rockies on the road are not the Rockies at Coors, of course, but Boston-Philadelphia-Colorado away with Cincinnati and LA to follow at home is just a brutal stretch, not just because of the teams they’ll be facing but because that 16-game stretch will be their longest stretch without an off day (barring weather) of the season.
The Giants’ strength this season is their pitching — mainly their bullpen — and they’re going to need it just as much early next year.
The other part of this balanced schedule is that it’s impossible for teams to “hide” anymore. Even if you face the Rockies and then the Pirates, the Mets, Phillies, and then Yankees follow them — in that order! Tough!
The Giants get the Yankees in a weekend series before traveling to Arizona and then Texas before coming home to host the Astros and then the Angels. Ohtani aside, they’ll still (probably) have Mike Trout. Another brutal stretch, particularly since the Angels series leads into a midwest road trip where the team plays at Wrigley Field and then the Field of Dreams game in Birmingham, Alabama against the Cardinals on Thursday, June 20th.
As they spotlight in the announcement tweet, they’ll be playing at Rickwood Field, former home of the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues. The Say Hey! Kid Willie Mays played for them when he was seventeen, batting .233/.313/.326 in 48 plate appearances.
I had thought to write a post about the Giants being in the Field of Dreams game, but it was going to be a joke post about what ghost players would visit them. That was when I thought it was being played in the cornfield situation like the movie. Instead, we’ll be getting a key bit of American Baseball history by way of our favorite baseball squadron.
The Negro Leagues is — and always has been — as important to the game as Babe Ruth. It’s remarkable how much the game reflects our country’s development and in the case of the Negro Leagues, these players’ struggles have followed still-relevant cultural struggles. That cornfield in Iowa is just a nostalgia button not unlike morphine for people confronting their mortality. Rickwood Field is a spotlight on our past that could light our way to the future.
The game will also be a chance for Gabe Kapler to Make A Statement. I don’t think it’ll be problematic, just very funny.
Then the Giants come home for four against the Cubs and three against the Dodgers. June looks like another tough month.
A Tuesday-Thursday series opens the month for the Giants in Atlanta, followed by a weekend series against the Guards. They have a six-game homestand against the Blue Jays and Twins before the All-Star break and I declare that that will be 1) too much American League. The second time in two months the Giants will play nine in a row against the AL. No thank you, Rob Manfred! 2) a tough start to the month.
Theoretically, it gets a little easier, with seven against the Rockies and two against the A’s, but there’s a four-game series in LA against the Dodgers, too, and before that’s coming off a three-game series in Colorado. The Giants will follow the Dodgers series with a four-game home series against the Rockies that includes a scheduled doubleheader!
Cincinnati in August? Just brutal. When I think of “the dog days of summer,” I think of muggy games in Cincinnati. They shuttle off to Washington for four against the Nationals, and that’s just way too much East Coast humidity for a team in the playoff race. They’ll get what amounts to a nine-game homestand after that, though, hosting the Tigers for three, the Braves for four, then going to Oakland for two before getting the White Sox for three. The Seattle-Milwaukee road trip before the final series of the month against the Marlins will almost certainly be weird, too.
This seems like an exhausting travel month just when the team will need to be finding a second wind for a playoff hunt.
Much like this most of my posts for this site, the 2024 calendar sort of runs out of gas at the end. The Giants will host the Marlins on September 1st to close out the weekend series, and then they’ll face the Diamondbacks (3 at Oracle), Padres (3 in San Diego), the Brewers (3 at Oracle), Padres again (3 at Oracle), before hitting the road for three against the Orioles, three against the Royals, three against the Diamondbacks, before closing the season with a three-game series against the Cardinals.
So, to reiterate, the San Francisco Giants of the National League West, will see the Dodgers for the last time in 2024 in July. In August, they won’t face any team in their division. And in the season’s final month, they’ll play the Marlins, Diamondbacks, Padres, Brewers, Orioles, Royals, and Cardinals. They’ll close the season against the Cardinals.
The only other time this century the Giants haven’t ended the season against an NL West opponent was 2002, when they swept the Astros, who were still in the NL Central. Before that — if you omit the 1998 makeup game in Chicago that ended the season and the strike-shortened 1994 — the last time the schedule had the Giants ending a season against a team outside the NL West was never. To put it another way: the Giants have only ended their season against teams outside their division twice in the history of division play (since 1969). 2024 will be one of those times.