Barring any unlikely snags that prevent Major League Baseball from moving the Montreal Expos to Washington next spring, the Chicago Cubs -- both woeful and beloved -- will first appear in the District in May, and Barry Bonds could be going for yet another milestone over the outfield field wall at RFK Stadium in September.
Washington's new franchise doesn't yet have a permanent owner or a new name. But as several major league franchises released their schedules yesterday -- all listed as "tentative," as they are subject to change -- glimpses of who the team will be facing began to take shape.
The Expos haven't released any of their schedule, but 17 other teams have unveiled at least their home games. A glance at those schedules reveals the dates and sites for 64 of the team's 162 games.
The team will open the season April 4 in Philadelphia against the Phillies, who also play in the National League's East Division.
The first home game revealed by the available schedules comes Friday, April 15 against the Arizona Diamondbacks -- who might have traded star pitcher Randy Johnson by that point. The Diamondbacks, who finished last in the National League West in 2004, will play the first three-game weekend set in Washington in 33 years.
The Cubs -- one of just six NL teams to release its entire schedule -- will play a three-game weekend series May 13-15 in Washington, which would give area fans the chance to see Chicago slugger Sammy Sosa as well as one or more of the team's star pitchers, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.
Bonds, who could win an unprecedented seventh most valuable player award when the announcement is made next week, will debut in the District on Sept. 20 when his San Francisco Giants make their only appearance of the season at RFK. The three-game series concludes Sept. 22.
There's a slim chance Bonds, whose 703 home runs place him third on the all-time list, could be chasing history in Washington. Bonds should pass Babe Ruth's 714 home runs early in the season, and then will set his sites on Hank Aaron, the all-time leader with 755. Bonds needs 52 homers to tie Aaron. He has reached that total only once in his career -- when he hit a record 73 homers in 2001. He hit 45 in 2004.
Interleague play is over by the end of June, with most clubs playing teams from the opposite league May 20-22, June 7-19 and June 24-26. The Expos will travel to Toronto in May and to Texas on June 17-19, and host Toronto on June 24-26.
The only other home games that are revealed by the available schedules come in August: against Los Angeles on Aug. 2-4, San Diego on Aug. 5-7 and Cincinnati on Aug. 22-24.
After the opener in Philadelphia, the team will have a day off and face the Phillies again on April 6 and 7. It will then travel to Florida for a three-game set with the Marlins April 8-10.
The club will spend the early part of May on the road, traveling to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Arizona for a nine-game trip that runs May 2-11. Other road trips: Cincinnati (May 23-25), Cubs (July 1-3), Florida (July 29-31), Philadelphia (Aug. 16-18), San Diego (Sept. 16-18), and a seven-game trip to end the season at Florida (Sept. 26-28) and Philadelphia (Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 1-2).