The 2020 PGBL season will kick off with Opening Day festivities this weekend. The Oakland Athletes begin defense of the franchise’s first championship on the road against the Flagstaff Elk, who are featuring a new look with fresh colors.
The defending North League champion Boston Braves open their season on the road as well with a series against the Norris Division-winning Chicago Cardinals. After its four-game trip to Flagstaff, Oakland gets to raise the championship banner during an April 11 home opener against Las Vegas.
But the champions will be without one of last year’s top players as Christian Yelich went to Louisiville as the centerpiece in a blockbuster nine-player offseason trade that reloaded the Athletes with Max Scherzer, Max Muncy, Jorge Soler and Felix Vazquez.
Other Opening Day matchups feature Maple Leaf champion London hosting Ottawa, Confederate champ Dublin welcoming St. Louis, Louisville heading to Las Vegas, Vancouver at home against Toronto, Memphis at Compton, Tijuana at Twin City, Calgary at Pittsburgh, and Brooklyn visiting Cleveland.
The Yelich deal was just one of several major offseason moves for the retooling Long Rifles, who sent Francisco Lindor and J.D. Martinez to Calgary, Michael Pineda and Steve Cishek to Vancouver, Tanner Roark to London, and Josh Hader, Wilson Ramos and Corey Dickerson to Tijuana.
Oakland also landed Trevor Story in a deal with Brooklyn, while the Arsenal added Rick Porcello and Danny Duffy to their rotation mix. Other noteworthy offseason trades saw St. Louis pick up Eduardo Escobar from Las Vegas, Compton acquire Paul Goldschmidt from Dublin, and Calgary land Zack Greinke from the Guinness
Memphis used the No. 1 overall draft pick on starting pitcher Zac Gallen, while the Roughnecks opened the free agent/waiver draft by selecting outfield prospect Andy Pages.