Hopefully later today we will get the details for how MLB is going to construct a 60 game schedule for each team.
Based on previous reporting it is likely a given that the schedule will be East vs. East, Central vs. Central and West vs. West. So each team will have 4 opponents in its league/division and 5 opponents in the same division in the other league.
Before we get to 60, let us make some assumptions.
- Since the expanded playoffs is probably a fact, that means 3 division winners and 4 Wild Card teams per league. More WC teams, in addition, to increasing post-season revenue, also perhaps helps make the WC process more fair. For example, in the AL if there are only 2, is that unfair to the West since they won’t have any games against the Tigers and the Orioles; Likewise in the NL, does 2 WC teams give an advantage to the East thanks to more games against the Marlins.
- Given the value of winning your division, presumably you want more (e.g, more than half) of the games against teams in your league/division.
- A balanced schedule may be the most fair; but may not be an option.
- Alternatively, you could have an odd number of games against each opponent like the 19 in division games now (alternating years with 10/9 and 9/10 home away). With no fans in the stands the impact of home/away is minimized (but not eliminated).
So now, some options/ideas.
A 62 Game Season
If MLB decides to add a couple games (a goodwill/PR move), this is an easy schedule to create and is balanced and fair.
- A 4/4 Home/Away series against each division opponent in your league. 32 games.
- A 3/3 Home/Away series against the same divion in the other league. 30 games.
Completely balanced and fair for each team in their division.
Personally, I am hopting for this!
A 61 Game Season
- A 4/5 Home/Away series against each division opponent in your league. 36 games.
- A 2/3 Home/Away series against the same division in the other league. 25 games.
This has the advantage of more games against league/division teams.
This would be my second choice. But frankly, why not just do 62 games and have a balanced schedule?
A 60 Game Season
This is a challenge if you want each team to have the same number of games against opponents in their own league/division.
- A 4/3 Home/Away against your division is 28 games – less than half. And leaves 32 for the other league/division. The problem is that this is not evenly divisible by 5.
A 4/4 Home/Away is 32 games – more than half which is good. But again leaves 28 for the other league/division, also not divisible by 5.
- A 4/5 Home/Away is 36 games – even better with more than half. But the same problem with 24 games not divisible by 5.
- A 5/5 Home/Away is 40 games, leaving 20 against the other league/division. It would be balanced since this would be a 2/2 Home/Away Series.
There are almost certainly lots of other options. But it is not as simple as it first appears because you have to make the same rules work for every team. And I know from experience that is hard to do.
So what say you?