How Many Weeks In A Baseball Season

How Baseball Works (a guide to the game of Baseball)

The Regular Season is a period of time in which a team competes against another team on a regular basis. Major League Baseball’s regular season spans from the beginning of April through the end of September, with each team playing a total of 162 games during that time. That translates to around one day off every 10 days, making baseball a “game-a-day” sport. Teams generally play “series” of three (sometimes four) games against the same opponent on successive days, with a “homestand” of two or three series, or a “road trip” (though much of the traveling is now done by air!) of two or three series.

If a game is “rained out,” it is normally rescheduled until later in the season (unless both teams have finished at least five innings, in which case the score is “called” at the point at which both teams had completed the previous innings), usually as part of a “double header” (two games played on the same day).

In the past, doubleheaders were occasionally planned (for example, on public holidays), allowing spectators to see two games for the price of one by purchasing two tickets.

Baseball games today are often played in the evenings under floodlights (to allow people to come watch the game after work), while most weekend games are played in the afternoons.

Leagues such as the American and National Leagues In Major League Baseball, there are two “Major Leagues” – the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), each of which is divided into three divisions.

Almost bulk of the games played by teams are against other teams in their own league (half against clubs in their own division, half against teams in the other two levels), however a limited number of “interleague” games have been played since the late 1990s.

For games played in AL ballparks when an AL club meets an NL team, the Designated Hitter rule is used, however the Designated Hitter rule is not applied for games played in NL ballparks.

American League East American League Central American League West
Baltimore Orioles Chicago White Sox Houston Astros
Boston Red Sox Cleveland Indians Los Angeles Angels
New York Yankees Detroit Tigers Oakland Athletics
Tampa Bay Devil Rays Kansas City Royals Seattle Mariners
Toronto Blue Jays Minnesota Twins Texas Rangers
National League East National League Central National League West
Atlanta Braves Chicago Cubs Arizona Diamondbacks
Miami Marlins Cincinnati Reds Colorado Rockies
New York Mets Milwaukee Brewers Los Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates San Diego Padres
Washington Nationals St Louis Cardinals San Francisco Giants

Each team’s primary goal is to win their divisional championship, and if they are unable to do so, their secondary goal is to finish as the best runner-up in their league (the Wild Card). If two teams are deadlocked for the divisional title or the wild card berth, a one-game playoff is held the day after the season finishes (with the location determined by a coin toss) to determine the winner (potential coin tosses are held a few days in advance to allow the teams to make contigency plans). The Agricultural System In the Major Leagues, every team has what is known as a “farm system,” which is a collection of lower-league “affiliates” that compete in “Minor Leagues” and whose purpose it is to provide replacement players while also grooming and developing young players to become Major League players.

Minor League baseball is divided into three classifications: “Triple A” (“AAA”), which represents players who are the closest to the Major Leagues, “Double A” (“AA”), which represents players who are new to professional baseball and are still learning their trade, and “Single A” (“A”), which represents players who are new to professional baseball and are still learning their trade.

In general, most teams have one “AAA” team and one “AA” team, but it’s extremely typical for them to have more than one “A” affiliate team as well.

They are often located in smaller towns and cities where they may garner support on their own.

The most important thing for each player is that it is his first step towards the “Big Show,” which is Major League Baseball.

In most cases, when a player is replaced on a Major League team’s roster, he is sent back down to the Minor Leagues (though there are complicated rules that determine how many times this can be done, and after a certain limit, a player has to “clear waivers,” which means that any other clubs have the option to pick him up when he is sent back down to the Minor Leagues), and if he is injured, he is placed on the “Disabled List” (DL).

Small-market clubs do periodically change their affiliations with a major league baseball club, and some Minor League teams are not associated with any Major League baseball club at all – these are referred to as “Independents.” The Proposal Most players are originally signed to teams through the draft, which is held every year in which clubs select eligible players in reverse order of their previous season’s finishing position (so the worst team gets first pick, etc).

Due to the lengthy time spans required for players to grow and reach the Major Leagues, a team’s draft position is rarely significant; instead, having a strong scouting network and signing “good prospects” are significantly more crucial.

Free Agents are those who are not currently employed.

In the event that a player has been in Major League Baseball for a number of seasons (usually five) and reaches the end of his contract, he has the option to “file for free agency” and effectively sign with whichever team offers him the most money (assuming that is his top priority, which it almost always is!).

  • Free agency has only been in existence since the mid-1970s; prior to that, a “reserve clause” was in place, which gave teams exclusive rights to a player, barring him from negotiating with other organizations.
  • Trades When a club wants to enhance its roster throughout the season, one of the most popular methods is through a trade, in which the rights to one (or more) players are moved to another team in exchange for the rights to one (or more) of their own players (and sometimes for cash).
  • It is highly usual for a failing club to “trade for prospects” during the Trading Deadline, and this happens all the time.
  • This is called a “waiver trade.” Also, they’ll probably be less expensive because “salary dumping” is something that many failing teams prioritize!
  • A contender must decide whether to mortgage part of the future in order to sign one or two crucial players now, whilst a losing team is given the opportunity to expedite their preparations for the long-term future.

A veteran with more than 10 years of Major League experience will almost always have a “no-trade” clause in his contract, which allows him to veto such transactions, but he will almost always “waive” the clause if the situation calls for it (given the trade is probably moving him to a more successful club with a chance of playing in the post-season).

MLB schedule: Deciding on 154 or 162 games isn’t myth, it was math

The long-running debate over the length of the Major League Baseball schedule erupted again over the weekend after Major League Baseball proposed a change to the 2021 season that would have included a 154-game schedule to be played after a one-month delay in the start of the season, as well as the introduction of the universal designated hitter and the expansion of the postseason. Those concessions were rejected by the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, who preferred to keep the 2021 season on track with its regular 162-game MLB schedule, no designated hitter in the National League, and a return to a 10-team playoff field after last season’s pandemic-induced expansion to 16.

MLB schedule: Through the years

The notion that baseball just plays too many games and hence loses its appeal to the long-desired casual fan has been rumbling around for quite some time now. There are some baseball fans who yearn for the days when teams played a 154-game schedule, which was the norm in the American League from 1904 to 1960 and the National League from 1904 to 1961, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was 162 games in 1961 when the American League expanded to include the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators, and the calendar increased to 162 games.

  1. Neither person, on the other hand, was conjured out of thin air.
  2. Each squad consisted of eight players.
  3. The sum of seven times twenty equals 140.
  4. It’s only a matter of math.
  5. What is seven times 22?

MLB schedule: Managing the first expansions in 1961, 1962

The American League increased to ten clubs for the 1961 season, and there was no way to accommodate 154 games while keeping the schedule’s overall balance (since there would be no divisional play at this point). Even if the calendar had been reduced to 20 games per opponent, it would have resulted in an untenable 180-game schedule. A 144-game schedule would have come by reducing the number of games against each other to 16. As a result, the number 18 was chosen as a middle ground. The sum of nine and 18 is 162.

It was only a matter of math.

MLB schedule: The complications of 1969

With the advent of divisional play and the arrival of four additional expansion clubs — the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots in the American League, and the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres in the National League — things became more difficult. Prior to the 1969 expansion, the two leagues were not even unified in their support for maintaining the 162-game schedule. The American League chose a two-division structure for its organization. The National League, on the other hand, had agreed to a 165-game calendar that included 15 games against each opponent while maintaining a single division, despite the fact that this resulted in an unbalanced distribution of home and away games between each team.

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In a first-ever occurrence, the amount of games played versus each opponent would not be the same.

You guessed it: 90 plus 72 still equaled 162, and it placed a greater focus on divisional play — which was vital because only the division champions progressed to the postseason in the first place.

MLB schedule: From 1977 on, maintaining 162 got … weird

Where do we go from here? The situation became murkier. The American League grew to 14 clubs in 1977, with the addition of the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays, and seven teams in each of the league’s two divisions. As a result, in order to maintain a 162-game schedule while still maintaining a larger divisional burden, the amount of games played against each opponent would not be equal across divisions. To replace this system of play, teams would play each divisional competitor 15 times (90 games), five of their opponents from the opposing division 10 times (50 games), and two of those non-divisional opponents 11 times (22 games).

It was not until 1979 that the American League returned to a balanced schedule, albeit with a system that required playing more inter-divisional games (84) than intra-divisional games (78).

When the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins joined the National League in 1993, the league used the same schedule as the American League.

In addition to playing 13 games against each of the West Division’s Rockies, Dodgers, Padres, and Giants, the Atlanta Braves would have played 13 games against each of the new NL Central’s Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros and would have played 48 games in its division if they hadn’t been moved to the NL East.

Those oddities were rendered immaterial, at least for the time being, due to the players’ strike.

MLB schedule: Inter-league play just made things … weirder

With the advent of inter-league play in 1997, the concept of balance was completely abandoned, with each team somehow managing to reach 162 points. In fact, it remained that way until the 1998 expansion that brought the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to the American League, the Arizona Diamondbacks to the National League, and the Milwaukee Brewers to the National League, resulting in the AL having 14 teams and the NL having 16 teams, with the AL having 14 teams and the NL having 16 teams. Inter-league play has become a part of everyday life in the year 2013.

  • 19 games vs divisional opponents (76 games)
  • 6 games versus four non-divisional opponents (24 games)
  • 7 games versus six non-divisional opponents (42 games)
  • 20 interleague games

Another 162 games are played, with a major focus on divisional play, which can distort postseason seedings, which were modified from a rotational system among the divisions to being based on winning percentage in 1997, resulting in 162 games played. This shift occurred with the establishment of Major League Baseball as an umbrella governing body in the 1990s. Individual leagues began to resemble the conferences of the National Football League and other North American professional sports, and scheduling choices were centralised at the national level.

That does not imply, however, that Team A is superior than Team B in any way.

But, in any case, there isn’t any legend behind either the 154 or the 162 games played. One of these (number 154) was a pure mathematical equation on paper. The other started off that way and has been shoe-horned into the structure of the leagues in order to continue to function properly.

How Many Games in a Baseball Season? Things You Should Know

Baseball, maybe more than any other sport, has one of the longest seasons. And the most frequently cited explanation for this is the sheer amount of games available. As might be predicted, the number of games played in a season has a direct proportional relationship to the length of a season. To figure out how many games are played in a baseball season, we’ll need to delve at the sport’s history, customs, standards, and a variety of other details. Knowing how many games are played in a baseball season will undoubtedly help you establish realistic expectations when watching tournaments.

Number of Games in a Baseball Season

There are a total of one hundred sixty-two (162) games played throughout an MLB (major league baseball) season. The regular season, which begins in April or late March and lasts until October, is also known as the regular season. Please keep in mind that the game count above does not include the remainder of the games in the World Series play-offs, as well as any training prior to or following the regular season. The length of the games played outside of the regular season is longer than projected, and they do not necessarily follow a strict time schedule as was anticipated.

Why Does Baseball Have Many Games in a Season

The number of games in a baseball season is adequate to accomplish the difficult task of distinguishing teams from one another in the sport. Individual contests between “gentlemen’s clubs” were place before baseball became a professionally organized sport in the early twentieth century. In 1876, however, baseball experts understood that the matches were insufficient for deciding the greatest club over a long period of play. This realization coincided with the formation of the National League.

  • The focus of the series is on having numerous consecutive games played by the same two rival teams within a short period of time.
  • The practice of playing a large number of games throughout the Major League Baseball season was discovered to be economically beneficial by team management, who were able to reduce the amount of traveling between games.
  • The high number of games available makes it convenient for fans to keep track of their favorite teams.
  • Furthermore, baseball, in contrast to other sports, is not very physically demanding.
  • However, it should not be as demanding as sports that need participants to move constantly, thus game extensions should not be a concern.

Finally, baseball players will have ups and downs in terms of their overall performance. A greater number of bouts will be held in order to determine the better (or more consistent) teams.

How Many Months Are in a Baseball Season

A regular season, sometimes known as MLB (major league baseball), lasts six (6) months. Despite the fact that it is an estimate, this time span has proved to encompass a total of 2,430 games. The total number of games may be broken down based on the one hundred sixty-two games that will be played by the thirty teams competing in the tournament (both from National and American Leagues).

How Many Games at the Start of the National League

The National League was formed in 1892, and baseball became a more formalized industry after that. When the American League was formed in 1901, baseball events were limited to a total of seventy (70) games every season, which increased to a total of one-hundred-forty (140) games in each season by the following season. Since then, teams have been competing in the two leagues.

Which Year Saw the Next Increase in the Number of Games

The first season of one hundred fifty-four games was introduced in 1920, marking the beginning of the modern era of professional baseball. It was not until 1961 that the number of games was altered to the current one-hundred sixty-two game placement, which is still in use today.

What is the Current MLB Schedule

Given the oncoming epidemic, the announcement of the Major League Baseball 2021 season came far too soon in 2020, a year in which there was very little financial flow to begin with. Due to the fact that the schedule for the 2020 regular season was issued even before the first game of that season’s regular season, it is possible that it is the earliest schedule ever announced in the history of baseball. For the year 2021:

  • Beginning on April 1, the regular season ends on October 3, and the postseason begins on October 5. The start of the world series is on October 26, and the end of the world series is on November 2, respectively.

On August 5, 2021, the official announcement of the 2022 Major League Baseball regular season was made.


It’s true that baseball is one of the few sports in which the season lasts for a lengthy period of time. And it has every right to be so, given the circumstances. It now takes one hundred sixty-two games to bring a season to a close, which equates to nearly six months of playing time. In order to determine how many games are played in a baseball season, it is necessary to examine the sport’s historical roots, assessment criteria, and other elements.

Basketball Monster – Fantasy Baseball Schedule Grid

Games 162 162 162 162 162 161 162 162 162 161 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162
Max Weeks 14 18 18 16 17 17 14 17 18 16 16 17 16 16 18 16 15 17 17 17 16 15 19 16 18 17 16 19 16 18
1 3/28/2022 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 4 4 3 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 4 4 3 3 4 3 3
2 4/4/2022 7 6 6 6 6 6 7 6 5 6 7 6 6 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 5 6 5 6 6 6 6
3 4/11/2022 5 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 5 7 6 6 6 7 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 6 7 7 6 7 7
4 4/18/2022 7 6 7 7 7 7 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 6 7 6 7 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 7
5 4/25/2022 7 6 6 7 6 6 6 7 7 6 7 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 7 6 6 6 5 7 6 7 7 6
6 5/2/2022 6 6 7 6 5 6 6 6 6 6 7 5 7 5 7 6 7 7 6 6 6 5 6 7 6 6 7 5 7 6
7 5/9/2022 6 5 6 5 6 7 7 6 6 7 6 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 6
8 5/16/2022 7 6 7 7 7 7 5 5 6 6 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 6 6 6 6 7 6 7 6 7 6 6
9 5/23/2022 6 7 6 6 6 5 7 7 7 7 6 6 6 7 5 7 7 6 7 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7
10 5/30/2022 6 7 7 6 7 6 6 6 7 7 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 6 6 6 6 7 6 7 7 7 7 6 7
11 6/6/2022 7 6 6 7 5 6 7 7 6 5 6 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
12 6/13/2022 6 6 7 6 7 6 6 6 6 7 6 6 6 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 6 7 7 6 6 6 7 7 7
13 6/20/2022 6 7 6 6 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 6 6 7 6 6 7 7 6 7 7 6 5 6 5
14 6/27/2022 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 6 5 5 6 6 7 6 6 7 5 6 7 6 7 6 7 5 6 6 6 7 6
15 7/4/2022 7 7 7 7 7 7 6 6 6 7 7 7 6 6 7 6 6 7 6 6 6 5 5 6 6 7 6 6 7 7
16 7/11/2022 6 7 5 7 6 7 6 6 7 6 6 7 5 5 7 6 6 7 6 6 6 7 7 6 7 7 7 7 6 6
17 7/18/2022 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3
18 7/25/2022 6 6 7 7 6 5 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 6 5 5 6 6 7 6 6 7 7 5 7 7 6 6
19 8/1/2022 6 6 6 7 6 7 6 7 7 7 7 7 6 7 6 6 7 7 6 5 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 7 6 7
20 8/8/2022 7 5 6 5 6 5 6 6 6 5 6 6 6 5 6 5 5 6 6 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 6
21 8/15/2022 7 7 6 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 7 7 6 7 6 7 6 7 7 7 6 6 7 6 7 6 7 7 7 7
22 8/22/2022 5 6 6 6 7 6 7 6 6 5 6 5 7 6 6 6 7 6 6 7 7 6 5 6 5 7 7 6 6 5
23 8/29/2022 7 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 7 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 6
24 9/5/2022 6 5 6 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 6 6 6 7
25 9/12/2022 7 6 5 5 6 5 7 6 5 6 7 6 6 6 6 5 6 7 5 6 6 7 6 5 6 6 6 5 6 5
26 9/19/2022 6 7 7 6 7 6 6 6 7 6 7 6 7 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 6 7 6 6 6
27 9/26/2022 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 6 6
Games 162 162 162 162 162 161 162 162 162 161 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162 162
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How Long Does a High School Baseball Season Last?

We rely on the generosity of our readers. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of our affiliate links, we may receive a commission. In addition, we get commissions from eligible Amazon sales because we are an Amazon affiliate. For a high school kid who want to continue his or her high school baseball career, the prospect of his or her child participating in a 162-game season, similar to that of Major League Baseball, may be terrifying for the parent. Although high school baseball seasons are substantially shorter than the professional season, there is no reason to be concerned.

However, most jurisdictions do allow their teams to play a 25-40 game regular season during the months of March and June, depending on the state.

High school teams often play between three and five days per week during the regular season, which may seem little when compared to the demands of a professional schedule. Players and their parents must make a commitment in order for this to be successful.

When Does a High School Baseball Season Start and End?

Again, like with most things in life, various states have varied rules and laws when it comes to high school sports. It is no different when it comes to scheduling games. Because of their warmer temperatures, the more southern states tend to begin their seasons sooner than the northern ones. A look at the list of start dates for the high school baseball and softball seasons maintained by MaxPreps reveals that all but one of the states in which the season began on March 1st was Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Utah, and Oklahoma.

As you can see, there are other states with start dates that are still to be determined (Hawaii; Maine; Missouri; New York; Rhode Island; Vermont; and Wyoming), which are indicated as TBD.

This later end date is most likely owing to the changes that have occurred as a result of the epidemic.

Regardless of where you live, you can almost certainly schedule time for high school baseball games between the months of March through June.

Why is the High School Baseball Season Shorter than College and Professional Schedules?

The fact that high schools often play fewer games than their collegiate and professional counterparts can be attributed to a number of factors. Because high school teams often have fewer pitchers and because the pitchers they do have are still in a developing stage physically, high school teams are at a disadvantage. Teams’ pitching staffs are unable to keep up with the rigorous schedules witnessed at higher levels. Second, many high school athletes participate in a variety of sports. Their seasons do overlap to a certain extent, but many states work hard to reduce this overlap to a bare minimum so that athletes can participate in more than one sport throughout their high school careers.

While this is true at the collegiate level as well, high school athletes do not have the same amount of flexibility in their class schedules as their college counterparts.

Due to a lack of indoor facilities in many regions, the weather plays a role as well.

In setting the start and finish dates for high school baseball teams, as well as how many games they are permitted to play, there are a variety of additional things to consider, but these are some of the primary reasons why the high school season is shorter than the junior high and college seasons.

How Long Does High School Summer Ball Last?

The number of high school players who continue to participate in summer basketball after their high school season has ended is increasing at an exponential rate. It has gained popularity because it provides athletes with the opportunity to hone their abilities against tough opponents while also gaining exposure for college recruiting. Each club has its own schedule for the summer ball season, which may be found here. There are no state laws governing the number of games that summer teams that are not linked with specific institutions are permitted to participate in.

Others begin their seasons as early as the end of May and continue them all the way through late September or early October, depending on the region.

They play between three and five games every week, similar to a high school season, but these games are spread out over a two- or three-day period instead of one day.

Frequently Asked Questions

States also differ in terms of the rules and regulations that govern practice. Some states allow teams to begin training as early as January, while others do not. By the middle of February or the beginning of March, most states allow their teams to begin training together in order to give them sufficient time to get their players in condition for the next season.

How long is a college baseball season?

The normal collegiate baseball regular season lasts from the middle of February through the middle of May, with 56 games being played in the regular season. The 2021 season, on the other hand, will see each conference having the ability to choose how many games their teams will be permitted to play, with some preferring to play full 56-game schedules and others deciding to play as little as 40 games. Take a look at these more resources: What Is the Average Number of Players on a High School Baseball Team?

The duration of a high school baseball game is unknown.

Batting Around: Will MLB play a 162-game regular season in 2022 after the lockout?

The Atlanta Braves have won the World Series, and baseball is currently experiencing its first labor stoppage since the 1994-95 strike. After failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement by the December 1 deadline, the owners locked out the players, and spring training was postponed until later this year. The regular season will be in peril in the near future. A weekly Batting Around roundtable will be hosted by the CBS Sports MLB experts throughout the summer, and they will break through pretty much everything.

Last week, we discussed the best place for Freddie Freeman to settle.

How many games will each team play in 2022?

R.J. Anderson: I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a little longer and predict 162. I can’t pretend to have a lot of faith in the way the owners and the league have conducted themselves up to this point, but I also can’t imagine them willfully foregoing regular-season income over some planned changes that are, to be honest, anything but drastic. It would be naive and ridiculous – yet, considering who we’re talking about, I believe it has to be considered as a genuine possibility as well. Matt Snyder: I’d want to thank you for your time.

  • Commissioner Rob Manfred stated in his news conference last week that the team would require around four weeks of spring training before the regular season could begin, and while most of that press conference was him spewing bullshit, I believe that portion.
  • Let’s preserve the trust in this place.
  • I’m still leaning toward saying 162.
  • The moment players begin to skip checks, the situation becomes really bad for club owners in terms of money.
  • I’m prepared to be disappointed on this front, but for the time being, I’m optimistic that we’ll have a complete season.
  • I’ve tried to maintain a positive attitude.
  • Now, I can’t help but be gloomy about the lockout since the owners don’t appear to be much that interested in reaching a resolution to the situation (there is no good reason for waiting 43 days to make an offer after initiating the lockout).

Moreover, each of those small milestones comes with a price tag connected to it.

We’ll raise the threshold for the luxury tax by a little amount, but the penalty for exceeding it will be significantly raised.

If the owners are interested in closing the purchase, they aren’t showing it.

History has shown us that things will appear hopeless for a lengthy period of time, but that the two parties will eventually come to an agreement in as little as 36 hours.

My outlook, on the other hand, has changed.

They appear to be more than eager to lose followers and do long-term harm to the sport as long as it results in one additional dollar in their bank account.

MLB lockout: Why spring training likely won’t start on time, and when Opening Day would be in serious jeopardy

MLB and the MLB Players Association are expected to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement within the next few weeks, bringing to an end what has already been the longest owners’ lockout in baseball history. I’m not sure when it will happen, but I’m confident that it will. Major League Baseball will continue to exist in its current form. The two parties will come to an agreement at some time in the future that is yet to be defined. I am well aware of this. The start of spring training, on the other hand, is in significant peril.

  1. Free agency and trades aside, teams will require additional time to complete their offseason affairs (arbitration, visas for players from foreign countries, and so on) before camp can start.
  2. Once a new collective bargaining agreement is negotiated, a two-week “offseason” and a three-week “spring training” should be considered the absolute bare minimum to begin the regular season.
  3. Let’s take a look at some of the likely milestones for the CBA negotiations with that in mind.
  4. This is the point at which a compromise must be found in order to satisfy certain admittedly arbitrary deadlines.
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Feb. 1: Full spring training

The Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association met on Tuesday (Feb. 1), and the discussions were “heated,” but the parties came away with nothing. It’s not the end of the world if the offseason continues into spring training if a new agreement had been reached on Feb. 1 to give teams about two weeks to finish their offseasons before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Arbitration hearings are frequently held during camp, and we’ve seen free agents, including major names like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, sign their contracts as late as late February or early March.

That is really significant.

Feb. 7: Full exhibition schedule

Beginning on Saturday, Feb. 26, both the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League will begin their respective seasons. That’s around 10 days after the pitchers and catchers go to the field. Given that players will need to participate in at least one team workout before participating in games (ideally more, but at least one), and that the league will require a few days for COVID-19 intake testing, the earliest possible date for an agreement that does not sacrifice spring training games is February 7, 2019.

By delaying the start of spring training, the owners will lose money (although the players will not be paid their salary during spring training, so they will not be affected as severely on the financial front).

March 1: Opening Day

The first day of classes will be held on Thursday, March 31. In the event that an agreement is reached by March 1, there would be just enough time for a two-week offseason and a three-week spring training session, allowing the regular season to begin on time. However, MLB and the MLBPA would be working on a tight deadline, so narrow that even a minor setback (such as delayed visas or a wave of positives during intake testing) might undermine the entire strategy, although it appears to be achievable.

In the event that an agreement is not reached by March 1, there is almost no chance that the MLB and the MLBPA will be able to avoid interrupting the regular season, when wages are at stake (salary for players and money-making regular season games for teams).

March 15: Delayed Opening Day

The lockout of 1990 established a precedent for a postponed Opening Day. It lasted 32 days, delayed spring training to nearly two weeks, and moved Opening Day back one week as a result of the labor dispute. In order to accommodate a complete 162-game season, three more days were added to the conclusion of the schedule. So, certainly, moving Opening Day back has occurred in the past and may occur in the future. The signing of a deal on March 15 would be followed by two weeks of offseason and three weeks of spring training, which would put Opening Day back to around April 15.

A combination of doubleheaders and adding an additional week at the conclusion of the season might be used to make up for those games.

Travel plans have already been made, and non-baseball events at Major League Baseball stadiums have been scheduled.

The following is their schedule for the first few weeks of the season:

  • The lockout of 1990 established a pattern for a postponed Opening Day in subsequent years. It lasted 32 days, delayed spring training to nearly two weeks, and moved Opening Day back one week as a result of the strike action. In order to accommodate a complete 162-game season, three additional days were added to the conclusion of the calendar. Moving Opening Day back has happened in the past and may happen again at a later time. Opening Day would be pushed back to around April 15 if a deal is reached on March 15, followed by a two-week offseason and three-week spring training. A total of four series and roughly in the region of 14 games would be lost by each club. After then, the games might be made up by a mix of doubleheaders and extending an extra week to the end of the season. To be clear, if they postpone the start of the season, MLB would simply move Opening Day to the next available spot on the present schedule rather than really moving it back. Travel arrangements have already been planned, and non-baseball events at Major League Baseball stadiums have been reserved. As an illustration, consider the World Series champion Atlanta Braves. They will be playing the following games throughout their early season:

Opening Day might be pushed back two weeks, which would result in postponements of games against the Marlins, Mets, Reds and Nationals. The Braves would start the season with the Padres, as well as the Marlins and Mets games against one other. It would be impossible to move everything back two weeks without causing a logistical headache, thus MLB would require that every team resume their present schedule when the season begins. Another possibility is that MLB and the MLB Players Association may agree to delay Opening Day and merely reduce the season rather than play a full 162-game schedule.

Historically, there has been precedence for a 154-game season (the pre-1961 standard) as well as a 144-game season (1995 following the strike), thus both might serve as the benchmarks if the two sides agree to a somewhat shorter season.

May 1: 100-game season

We all enjoy round numbers, and a 100-game regular season would be a logical goal if the lockout were to last until the end of April. In addition to the fact that there is no precedence for a 100-game season (teams played 103-111 games around the 1981 strike and 112-117 games before the 1994 strike), there is also no precedent for a 60-game season, as was the case last season. On rare occasions, history is written. Each club is slated to play its 62nd game on or around June 6, which would put the deadline for a new CBA at or around May 1 (or thereabouts).

June 6 also happens to be a Monday, which is handy because it is the first day of a new series in baseball.

June 15: All-Star break

It will be the latest All-Star Game since the strike-interrupted 1981 season reopened with the Midsummer Classic on August 9, and each club will play 97-100 games before the All-Star break, which will be held on July 19 this year. As a result, the All-Star break provides as an excellent jumping off point for another season of around 60 games. As part of its drive to re-engage fans, the Major League Baseball (MLB) might possibly kick off the season with the All-Star Game. Perhaps this would be a good idea.

The two-week offseason and three-week spring training we anticipate will be sufficient for our purposes.

An All-Star start might take place as early as June 15th, if not before.

Aug. 1: Worst-case scenario

MLB and the MLBPA will most likely reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement by this date, and baseball will resume this season, or they will fail to do so, and there will be no baseball in 2021. If you reach an agreement on Aug. 1, you’ll have enough time to play in what, at most, 45 games? Maybe a season with 30 games? If this is the case, it may be more cost effective to forego the regular season completely and instead create a big 30-team round robin tournament. The worst-case scenario for baseball is a lockout that lasts until the end of August.

No one, not the owners, nor the players, and certainly not the fans, are in favor of it.

Feb. 1, 2023: Full spring training

In the rare event that the 2022 season is missed, we’ll start over from the beginning of the next offseason, and Feb.

1 will once again be the deadline by which MLB and the MLBPA must have a CBA in place in order to have a normal spring training season. If you miss out on the season, the clock on everything effectively resets, and we’re looking at the same dates all over again, this time for 2023 rather than 2022.

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