Major League Baseball schedule

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The Major League Baseball season consists of 162 games for each of the 30 teams in the American League and National League, played over approximately 180 days, for a total 2430 games. The season typically runs from early April to late September, followed by the postseason in October. The postseason (playoffs) can add up to 20 more games for a given team.

The season begins with the official Opening Day and runs 26 weeks through the last Sunday of September or first Sunday of October. One or more International Opener games may be scheduled outside the United States and Canada before the official Opening Day.[1] Not every team plays every day, but there are daily games except during the All-Star Game break. Individual teams might not play on some Mondays and/or Thursdays.

Historical season schedules[edit]

This account gives the length of the major league championship season schedule by league and year. It does not cover the curtailment of play by war (1918) or by strikes and lockouts (1972, 1981, 1994). The schedules for 1995 were revised and shortened from 162 to 144 games, after late resolution of the strike that had begun in 1994 required a delay in the season to accommodate limited spring training.

The listed years are those in which the league revised its schedule. For example, the National League (NL) scheduled 84 games during 1879, 1880, 1881, and 1882 — four seasons begin 1879, ending before 1883, the next listing. 1876 is listed here for convenience although the NL did not schedule games (see 1871 to 1876).

National League[edit]

Start year Total Games Schedule
1876 70 games 10 games × 7 opponents
1877 60 games 12 games × 5 opponents
1879 84 games 12 games × 7 opponents
1883 98 games 14 games × 7 opponents
1884 112 games 16 games × 7 opponents
1886 126 games 18 games × 7 opponents
1888 140 games 20 games × 7 opponents
1892 154 games 14 games × 11 opponents
1893 132 games 12 games × 11 opponents
1898 154 games 14 games × 11 opponents
1900 140 games 20 games × 7 opponents
1904 154 games 22 games × 7 opponents
1919 140 games 20 games × 7 opponents
1920 154 games 22 games × 7 opponents
1962 162 games 18 games × 9 opponents
1969 162 games 18 games × 5 opponents in own division, 12 × 6 in other division
1993 162 games expansion - schedules same as AL 1979-1993
1994 162 games leagues split into 3 divisions - schedules based on 1993 alignments
1997 162 games inter-league play introduced - opponent schedules vary
1998 162 games expansion - opponent schedules vary
2013 162 games 19 games × 4 opponents in own division (76 games), 6 or 7 games × 10 opponents in other divisions within league (66 games), 20 inter-league games

American League[edit]

Start year Total Games Schedule
1901 140 games 20 games × 7 opponents
1904 154 games 22 games × 7 opponents
1919 140 games 20 games × 7 opponents
1920 154 games 22 games × 7 opponents
1961 162 games 18 games × 9 opponents
1969 162 games 18 games × 5 opponents in own division, 12 × 6 in other division
1977 162 games expansion - 15 games × 6 opponents in own division, 10 or 11 × 7 opponents in other division
1979 162 games 13 games × 6 opponents in own division, 12 games × 7 opponents in other division
1994 162 games leagues split into 3 divisions - schedules based on 1993 alignments
1997 162 games inter-league play introduced - opponent schedules vary
1998 162 games expansion - opponent schedules vary
2013 162 games 19 games × 4 opponents in own division (76 games), 6 or 7 games × 10 opponents in other divisions within league (66 games), 20 inter-league games

American Association[edit]

1882 - 1891

1882 - 80 games - 16 games × 5 opponents
1883 - 98 games - 14 games × 7 opponents
1884 - 112 games - 16 games × 7 opponents
1886 - 140 games - 20 games × 7 opponents
After 1891 four AA clubs joined the NL and four were bought out.

Union Association[edit]

1884

1884 - 112 games - 16 games × 7 opponents

Players' League[edit]

1890

1890 - 140 games - 20 games × 7 opponents

Federal League[edit]

1914 - 1915

1914 - 154 games - 22 games x 7 opponents

National Association of Professional Base Ball Players[edit]

The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (1871–1875) did not schedule games, nor did it control the number of teams, a major reason for its demise after the 1875 season. Clubs paid a $10 entry fee, later $20, to enter the Association for one season and thereby declare for that year's national championship. Without continuing membership or heavy investment there was little to deter a team from breaking a commitment, and though it happened it was mainly due to clubs going out of business.

The National League organized for 1876 on a different basis, granting exclusive memberships to eight clubs that would continue from year to year — it was generally expected, if only because membership would be profitable. But the new league followed its predecessor in merely agreeing that each club would play a certain number of matches to a decision (excluding ties) by a certain date. Boston played 70 games with its quota of ten decisions against every rival.

For all six early seasons, clubs made their own dates including championship games, other games with members, and games with non-members. Some may have practically dictated arrangements with some others, but there was no central control or coordination.

This listing gives the greatest number of games played by any club for each season. Naturally, the leader by games played was always a strong club fielding one of the better gate attractions.

1871 - 33 games (Mutual, New York)
1872 - 58 games (Lord Baltimore)
1873 - 60 games (Boston)
1874 - 71 games (Boston)
1875 - 86 games (Hartford)
1876 - 70 games (Boston). This was the first National League season (see text).

Recent season schedules[edit]

1998 to 2012[edit]

Since 1998, there have been 30 major league teams whose advance schedule for every season comprises 2430 games. Each team plays 162 games, 81 as the "home" team, 81 as the "visitor". (This is true even on the rare occasion when a game is played at a ballpark not home to either team.) Occasionally, the advance schedule is subsequently altered due to a game postponement or a one-game tie-breaker to determine which team will play in the postseason.

Until 2013, the schedule included 252 "interleague games" that matched one team from the American League and one from the National League; the other 2178 games matched a pair from within one league. About half of the latter matched teams from within one division and about half matched teams from different divisions in one league. In the Central Division of the National League, which alone had six teams, every pair of division rivals played 15 or 16 games. Within the other, smaller divisions every pair of teams played 18 or 19 games.

Division games (1091). There are 61 pairs of teams from within one division.

  • 25 pairings will play 19 games each (475 games)
  • 21 pairings will play 18 games each (378 games)
  • 13 pairings will play 16 games each (208 games)
  • 2 pairings will play 15 games each (30 games)
  • Total: 1091 games.

Other intraleague games (1087). There are 150 pairs of teams from two different divisions within one league.

  • 23 pairings will play 10 games each (230 games)
  • 15 pairings will play 9 games each (135 games)
  • 8 pairings will play 8 games each (64 games)
  • 34 pairings will play 7 games each (238 games)
  • 70 pairings will play 6 games each (420 games)
  • Total: 1087 games.

Interleague play[edit]

The schedule for interleague play comprised 84 three-game series in each season from 1998 to 2012, divided as six series (18 games) for each of fourteen AL teams and as many as six for each of sixteen NL teams.

Among the 224 interleague pairs of teams, 11 played six games every year, which were scheduled in two three-game series "home and home," or one at each home ballpark. Five of these matches featured two teams in the same city or in neighboring cities, where they wholly or partly share territorial rights. Six were regional matches at greater distance, four of which were in the same state.

  • Baltimore and Washington
  • Chicago Cubs (Northside) and Chicago White Sox (Southside)
  • Cincinnati and Cleveland
  • Miami and Tampa Bay (Tampa/St. Petersburg)
  • Houston and Texas (Arlington)
  • Kansas City and St. Louis
  • Anaheim Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Milwaukee and Minnesota (Minneapolis/St. Paul)
  • New York Mets (Queens) and New York Yankees (Bronx)
  • Oakland and San Francisco
  • San Diego and Seattle

These local and regional series accounted for 66 interleague games annually from 1998-2012, and the other 186 games were determined by rotation.

9/11 rescheduling[edit]

The 2001 season was suspended for one week due to the September 11 terrorist attacks and resulting disruptions in travel, resulting in games scheduled for September 11–17 being rescheduled to the first week of October and the playoffs and World Series being rescheduled one week later than their originally planned dates, which resulted in the World Series continuing into early November.

2013[edit]

Schedule changes for 2013, precipitated by realignment that created two equal-sized leagues of 15 teams each, gives every team 20 interleague games. Sixteen of these are determined by a divisional rotation in which all teams in a given division play the same opponents; each playing a three-game series against four teams from the designated division and two two-game series against the remaining team.

The matched divisions for 2013 are:

  • AL East vs. NL West
  • AL Central vs. NL East
  • AL West vs. NL Central

The remaining four interleague games will be played against a designated "natural rival" with 2 games in each club's city - many of which are similar to the regional ones used previously, but with some changes. In 2013, all of the natural rivalry games were played from May 27-30, but in 2014 they will be spread between May and August.

For 2013, these were

  • Baltimore and Washington
  • Boston and Philadelphia
  • New York Mets (Queens) and New York Yankees (Bronx)
  • Miami and Tampa Bay (Tampa/St. Petersburg)
  • Toronto and Atlanta
  • Chicago Cubs (Northside) and Chicago White Sox (Southside)
  • Cincinnati and Cleveland
  • Detroit and Pittsburgh
  • Kansas City and St. Louis
  • Milwaukee and Minnesota (Minneapolis/St. Paul)
  • Houston and Colorado
  • Los Angeles Angels (Anaheim) and Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Oakland and San Francisco
  • San Diego and Seattle
  • Texas and Arizona

For 2014, these will be

  • Baltimore and Washington
  • Boston and Atlanta
  • New York Mets (Queens) and New York Yankees (Bronx)
  • Miami and Tampa Bay (Tampa/St. Petersburg)
  • Toronto and Philadelphia
  • Chicago Cubs (Northside) and Chicago White Sox (Southside)
  • Cincinnati and Cleveland
  • Detroit and Pittsburgh
  • Kansas City and St. Louis
  • Milwaukee and Minnesota (Minneapolis/St. Paul)
  • Houston and Arizona
  • Los Angeles Angels (Anaheim) and Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Oakland and San Francisco
  • San Diego and Seattle
  • Texas and Colorado

Division and other intraleague games

Teams will now play 19 games against each club within their division (totaling 76 games), and 6 or 7 games against League opponents not in their Division (66 games).

Time of first pitch[edit]

Start of Major League Baseball games depends on days of the week, game number in series, holidays, and other factors. Most games start at 7pm in a given time zone, so there are more night games than day games even though baseball is traditionally played during the day. The reason why there are more night baseball games is to attract more fans to ballparks as well as viewers from home because most fans would be at work or school during the day. On Tuesdays and Fridays, games are almost exclusively played at night except for Cubs home games. Getaway days are days that teams play their last game of the series before departing for another series next day are usually day games, mainly Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. On Sundays, usually all but one were day games with night games being broadcast on ESPN. Sunday day games usually start at 1pm local time while Sunday night baseball begins at 8pm ET regardless of city they play in. About half of Saturday games are day games (1, 2 or 4pm ET) while night games are being started an hour earlier than usual night start times. In conclusion, weekday games are only played at night except for getaway days while most weekend games are played during the day.

On Opening Day, games tend to start at 1pm local time, while Opening Night start at 8pm ET on ESPN the night before traditional Opening Day.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2007-2011 Basic Agreement" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]