Why Are There So Many Games In An MLB Baseball Season?
In the MLB regular season, each team plays 162 games, making it the longest regular season in American professional sports. The regular season is played from late March to early October, then it's followed by the postseason that can last into early November. Read below to learn more about why baseball seasons are so long.
Expansion to 162 Games
The first year an MLB season lasted 162 games was in 1961, but that was just the American League. The National League expanded to 162 games the following year. In fact, 1961 was the only year the two leagues had different lengths of schedules. Prior to that, all teams played 154 games. At the time, MLB teams would only play against opponents in their league, and teams competed against each other 22 times, with home and road games split.
The expansion in schedule was largely due to new teams being added to the MLB. In 1961, the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators were added to the American League. In 1962, the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s became part of the National League. As a result, teams played their league’s nine opponents 18 times, which equals 162 games.
Why Baseball Seasons Are so Long
There are a few factors that explain why baseball seasons are so long. Starting with the obvious, the more games, the more people attend and watch baseball, which leads to more money for MLB.
Another reason is that baseball requires more contests to truly determine the good from the bad teams in its sport. On any given day, a bad team’s pitcher can shutout a superior team, leading to a victory. Having more games helps mitigate the luck factor involved with the sport.
Finally, when teams play each other in baseball, they’ll play a series against each opponent in one trip. Each series ranges from two-to-five games, and they’re typically played at the same stadium for each game of the series.
MLB Season Compared to Other Sports
MLB seasons are 162 games long, which is considerably more than the NHL (82), NBA (82), and NFL (17). However, the MLB season’s overall length is actually on par with those leagues. The baseball regular season starts in late March and ends in early October, which is about six months.
The NHL and NBA are around seven months in length. On the other hand, the NFL regular season is about four months. Baseball also has the luxury of being the main sport during the summer as football’s postseason ends in early February, and hockey and basketball’s end in June.
Why are MLB seasons so long?
The MLB regular season is much longer than other professional sports seasons. The arguments for it are it’s more money for the league and it reduces the luck factor. However, some fans may not have incentive to watch every contest because there are so many opportunities to watch. Thus, not every game feels that important.
Can an MLB team go undefeated?
It’s theoretically possible for a MLB team to finish 162-0, but in reality, it’s almost impossible. Even the greatest baseball teams assembled have lost about 30% of the time making going undefeated inconceivable. The team with the current wins record for a 162-game season is the 2001 Seattle Mariners with 116 victories. The 1906 Chicago Cubs also recorded 116 wins in only 152 games.