Seattle Mariners

Giants' tentative 2021 MLB schedule includes odd Opening Day quirk

Giants' tentative 2021 MLB schedule includes odd Opening Day quirk

Have you fully digested the 2020 MLB schedule that was released on Monday? Good, because here comes the 2021 schedule! 

MLB released full schedules for next season, and the Giants once again open on the road, but this time in unfamiliar territory. For the first time in club history, the Giants will begin the season in an interleague park with a series in Seattle starting April 1. The Giants play their home opener April 9 against the Rockies. Here's the full schedule:

This will be the 12th consecutive season that the Giants open on the road, something they generally ask for so that they can finish the season at home and have more dates at Oracle Park when kids are out of school over the summer. They will begin the 2020 season in Los Angeles in two weeks (maybe).

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The 2020 season kept teams in their own region as much as possible, which means that the Giants will play the AL West two consecutive years. They were supposed to play the AL Central this season. The Giants will visit the Texas Rangers' new park next June and also have road series in Anaheim and Oakland, in addition to that opener in Seattle. The schedule includes the usual slate of trips to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc., so MLB is at least planning for the likelihood that society and travel are a bit more back to normal next year. 

If fans are allowed back into Oracle Park, there are a few series that stand out. 

[RELATED: Everything to know about the MLB season restart, Giants]

Mike Trout and the Angels visit May 31, Madison Bumgarner's Diamondbacks come for the first time on June 14, and the Houston Astros visit July 31 if you have a lot of pent-up booing you would like to do at some point in 2021. 

How MLB proposal changes Gabe Kapler, Giants' preparation for season

How MLB proposal changes Gabe Kapler, Giants' preparation for season

The Giants are realistic. They knew when they reported to Scottsdale Stadium in February that they did not yet have the talent base of most other organizations, but they also figured they could cut off that gap by doing more prep work than any of their opponents. 

That work has continued even in quarantine, and Gabe Kapler regularly gets his massive coaching staff and analytics group together to simulate games and talk through scenarios. There's just one problem: The Giants have been doggedly preparing for the National League West opponents they'll normally see 18 times a year, but the ground underneath them might be shifting. 

The proposal from the owners to the MLB Players Association reportedly will call for reduced travel, with the Giants playing their NL West counterparts but also seeing significant action against American League West teams. That would mean the loaded Astros, the up-and-coming A's, and Mike Trout and the Angels. During an appearance on KNBR on Monday afternoon, Kapler said the staff is already preparing for a schedule heavy on the American League.

"We spent a lot of time on the Dodgers, we spent a lot of time on the Diamondbacks, obviously preparing for the Padres, etc.," Kapler said. "We just changed our approach and our gameplan. We are definitely going to be preparing for the A's, we are definitely going to be preparing for the Angels and the Mariners and more interleague play. We just have to know that that's at least a possibility at that point, which gives us a lot of work. I mean, we have a lot to do considering we weren't preparing for those teams as much and now that's definitely on the table."

There are positives and negatives to all that. A schedule heavy on the AL West could be tough, as the Astros and A's in particular figured to be two of the four or five best teams in the American League. This schedule would give NL Central teams at least a small advantage in an expanded playoff race. 

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On the other hand, it would be a nice change of pace to see so much of Trout and also of the A's, and the Giants would unexpectedly get to face the Astros, the current bad boys of the sport, in 2020. And then, of course, there's the ultimate positive. 

[RELATED: Looking back at Giants prospects of 2013]

Talking about scouting Jose Altuve and Anthony Rendon means you're talking about baseball at all, and that's something we'll all take. Kapler thought Monday's developments were a good sign, and said he's "really optimistic" about the sport returning this summer.

"I think that from the players to the fans to the owners to the individual clubs, everybody is really excited about the prospect of playing baseball," Kapler said. "I think it's great that a proposal is on the table. I think it's great that it's getting examined. We've had lots of discussions about it internally and the way we think about it is we need to be ready for every possible outcome, for several different rule changes, for training in home cities or in spring training sites, and not to get too caught up in what's going to happen and preparing for that, rather than getting prepared for every possible outcome."

Giants' Hunter Bishop gives perfect response to brother Braden's tweet

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AP

Giants' Hunter Bishop gives perfect response to brother Braden's tweet

When Giants prospect Hunter Bishop played against his brother, Braden, and the Seattle Mariners in spring training, he said it was "something out of a movie." 

The brothers have a close relationship, but that doesn't stop them from having a little brotherly banter from time to time. So, when NBC Sports Bay Area's Shelter on Base co-host Therese Viñal asked fans to submit questions for Hunter, Braden couldn't help himself. 

After laughing, Hunter, 21, had the perfect response when asked about the tweet on Shelter on Base. 

"I'll give him this, he did dominate me a lot growing up just because he was five years older than me," the younger Boishop said. "But I was gonna post my junior year of college stats and my home run numbers versus his junior year of college stats and his home run numbers, and they're not even close. So until he can hit over 20 home runs in a season, the guy can't talk."

When it comes to college stats, Hunter's right. He has some big-time bragging rights over his older brother. 

Hunter hit .342 with 22 home runs as a junior at Arizona State University before the Giants selected him with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. He hit .305 with 32 homers in three seasons for the Sun Devils. 

Braden, 26, didn't exactly have the same power numbers as a Hunter in college. As a junior at the University of Washington, he hit .295 and knocked out four long balls. They were the only homers of his three-year college career. 

[RELATED: Check out the 10 most successful trades in Giants history]

The most homers Braden has hit in a season is eight, which he did last season in Triple-A with the Tacoma Rainiers. He does have Hunter beat in one part of the game, though.

"He made the big leagues, so he has that over me," Hunter said. "Hopefully I'll be there soon. Then he really has nothing over me." 

The elder Bishop made his MLB debut for the Mariners on March 21 last year. Giants fans will have to wait a bit until Hunter makes it to San Francisco, but if he puts all of his skills together, it shouldn't take too long.

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