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No snow, no rain. So why are the Rays off on a Friday?

It goes back to MLB's plan to open the season on a Thursday.
 
Members of the Rays and Red Sox stand for the national anthem before the Red Sox's home opener at Fenway Park on Thursday. [Getty Images]
Members of the Rays and Red Sox stand for the national anthem before the Red Sox's home opener at Fenway Park on Thursday. [Getty Images]
Published April 6, 2018

Today is Friday, usually the start of the busy baseball weekend with a full slate of games.

But the Rays — and Red Sox, and 10 other teams — are scheduled off today.

Not because of snow, like in New York Monday. Not because of rain, though plenty is expected today in Boston. Just off.

Why?

It goes back to MLB's plan to open the season on a Thursday. That meant teams that played their first two series on the road, such as the Red Sox, would be playing their first series at home this weekend.

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And because Opening Day is considered special — thus the capital letters — with all the pomp and circumstance and business execs and politicians and other big shots in the stands and suites, teams in potentially bad-weather cities like to have the protection of a day off after the opener in case it has to be postponed. (As was the case in New York this week.)

And if they had the opener on Friday, they'd have to give up a lucrative Saturday date as the protection day.

So there you have it.

The Rays were the guests for the Red Sox's home opener on Thursday, which was played on a clear and cold afternoon. They are off today, and resume the three-game series on Saturday.

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(Because the Rays play in a dome, they didn't need the day off after their opener last week, which is why they played a four-game series against the Red Sox.)

This isn't the first time the Rays have had a scheduled Friday off day, though it was because of unique circumstances.

In 2004, the-then Devil Rays opened the season in Tokyo against the Yankees on a Tuesday and Wednesday (March 30-31).

After the long flight back, the Rays were off that Thursday and Friday, then played a Saturday exhibition and resumed regular-season play on Tuesday (April 6) at the Trop — against the Yankees.