Well, it’s that time again…time for us to begin focusing on next year’s schedule.

I don’t know why the new schedule can be so fascinating.  Even in a good year like last year, when the ushers are handing out these “Tentative” schedules that have a whole bunch of TBDs on them, it’s almost more distracting from the game than your average social media system.

So, here’s the breakdown of things you need to know for 2014:

• Opening Day: March 31st at Arizona

• Home Opener: April 8th against Arizona

• Regular Season Finale: September 28th against San Diego

• Home Dodger Series: April 15-17 (Tuesday through Thursday), July 25-27 (Friday through Sunday), September 12-14 (Friday through Sunday).

• Road Dodger Series: April 4-6 (Friday through Sunday), May 8-11 (Thursday through Sunday), September 22-24 (Monday through Wednesday).

• Oakland Rivalry Series: Home and home July 7-8 (at Oakland) and July 9-10 (at San Francisco).  Still doing a two-games-each style of series.  That kind of disappoints me.  Having three games in each city at least allows for a ‘winner’.  Two games at each city just feels like the schedule makers are squeezing it in.

Of course, rivalry games are less important for San Diego and Seattle facing each other…

• Interleague play: AL Central.  At home: the Indians, the Twins, the White Sox; On the road: the White Sox, the Royals, the Tigers

• Awkward Series of the Year: Visiting Detroit in September.  It’ll be the first time the Giants and Tigers have met since the Tigers got swept in the World Series.  Actually, it probably won’t be THAT awkward…for Giants fans.  Hopefully it’s a series that means something for the Giants.

• The home stretch: 3 games at San Diego, 3 games at Los Angeles, 4 games vs. San Diego at home.  7 games against the Padres to finish up the year?  If the Giants are in a tight pennant race, it’ll be hard to find a more advantageous finishing schedule.

• Longest Stretch without an off-day: 17 days in early May.  The series starts with a road trip to Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, before finishing with Atlanta and Miami at home.  It’s good to have the longest stretch in May, before teams start tiring out.  However, there is a 16-day streak in late August, starting on the road in Chicago and Washington (!!!), followed by games at home against Colorado, Milwaukee, and finally a trip to Colorado.

• Most Grueling Road Trip: The aforementioned Braves, Pirates and Dodgers in early May.  The only other three-team roadtrip is in early August with the Mets, Brewers and Royals, but Milwaukee to Kansas City is a short trip and there are offdays bookending the trip, making the travel easier.

• Dog Day Vacations: August is going to be a weird month.  After that road trip, and before the 16 game homestand, there is an unusual week where the Giants will have three offdays in a week, getting Monday off, playing two against the White Sox, Thursday off, a weekend against the Phillies, then Monday off again before traveling to Chicago to face the Cubs.  If your offdays are going to get bunched together, that’s the time to have it happen.

All in all…I couldn’t tell you much of a single truly special thing about this schedule.  But, it’s out.  Still, it’s tentative, so you know, you shouldn’t count on it.  not that they ever change them.