Major League Baseball (MLB) is a complex and exciting sport, with a schedule that keeps fans on their toes. The 2023 season brought a new format, promising more thrilling games and diverse matchups. Let's delve into how the MLB schedule works.
The Basics of the MLB Schedule
The MLB consists of 30 teams divided into two leagues: the American League and the National League. Each league is further divided into three divisions: East, Central, and West. Teams play one mid-week series and one weekend series per week, usually scheduled between Monday and Thursday for mid-week games, and between Thursday and Monday for weekend games. The season spans 26½ weeks, starting and ending on a weekend.
The New Balanced Schedule in 2023
In 2023, a balanced schedule was introduced, meaning that teams throughout the league will play every opponent in MLB — be it in the American or National League — in at least one series during the campaign. This change was made to increase the number of opponents each team faces during the year, creating more consistent opponent matchups as clubs compete for postseason berths.
Breakdown of Games
Each team will play a total of 162 games. They will face each divisional foe 13 times across four series, totaling 52 games. These games will be split evenly between home and road games, though there will be an imbalance within each individual matchup (seven home games and six road games, or vice-versa). Teams will also play 64 intraleague games against non-division opponents from the same league. This includes six games against six of their league opponents and seven games against four of their league opponents.
Interleague games see a significant increase in the 2023 schedule, jumping from 20 matchups to 46. Four of these games will be against each team’s “natural rival,” another team from the other league in close geographic proximity. These matchups will be played through a home-and-home series. The remaining 42 interleague games will be split evenly among the 14 other non-league teams, with each club playing seven of those series at home and seven on the road.
The Role of Technology in Scheduling
The scheduling of Major League Baseball has evolved over the years, with technology playing a significant role. In the past, the schedule was manually created by individuals like Henry and Holly Stephenson. However, advancements in technology have allowed for more complex schedules to be created, accommodating changes such as interleague play in every time slot.