ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The Cubs and Cardinals will once again be the showcase matchup for Major League Baseball's first day of action.
Originally scheduled to open the 2017 season Monday, April 3 at 3:15 p.m. at Busch Stadium, the long-time rivals will now face off Sunday, April 2 at 7:35 p.m., as the first edition of Sunday Night Baseball for 2017.
In 2015, The Cardinals traveled to Chicago for the same matchup, opening the season with a 3-0 win in front of a national audience.
In that contest, Jason Heyward went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a run scored and a stolen base in his first game as a Cardinal. The win for St. Louis would be one of 100 on the season en route to a division championship and the first of 11 victories over Chicago that year.
The 2017 rematch will be set in a radically different landscape. The Cubs are World Series champions and the Cardinals, long the class of the division, are forced to make major upgrades if they hope to challenge the Northsiders in the years to come.
Heyward is still around, but is clad in Cubbie blue. He had the worst season of his career in Chicago, but is wearing a ring and still holding all the cards in a $184 million, double opt-out contract.
The Cardinals are in transition and the Cubs are hoping to establish themselves as a dynasty. The two clubs will likely have a rejuvenated viewing audience all to themselves on April 2, with a chance for the Cardinals to make a much better first impression than last season’s 1-4 loss to Pittsburgh.
With the switch, the Cardinals will get Monday April 3 off, followed by another off day on Thursday the 6th. The team will get four days off in the season’s opening month.