The Grueling MLB Schedule:
Why is it So Long?
Some people dislike baseball. They find it to be a slow sport with long games and an even longer season. So why is the MLB Baseball season so long? The answer is simple: endurance. It’s an ironman sport. A team can go on a short run of wins in any sport, but only the truly great teams can sustain that performance over 162 games.
Let’s use the NFL as an example. Although it isn’t physically possible to play at the current level of NFL play for much more than 20 games per season, the idea stands that a 10-game win streak with some wins and losses added in will provide you with one of the best teams in the league, and almost assure a playoff entrance.
In baseball, a 10-game win streak is good and all, but it isn’t something to write home about. A successful season requires consistent wins night in and night out for months on end. The schedule is grueling, with teams playing multiple days in a row.
Let’s take a look at the Dodgers 2021 schedule as they are currently rated as the top team by TeamRankings and have odds at Top Michigan Sportsbooks of +350—now the shortest odds in the league.
The LA Dodgers opened up their 2021 regular season on April 1st and played every single day for an entire week. They played four consecutive road games in Colorado from the 1st to the fourth, then traveled in the evening after playing on April 4th to show up in Oakland and play the A’s on the 5th of April. They played three straight days in Oakland before finally taking one day off—April 8th, which they used to travel home to LA. Then played against the Washington Nationals on April 9th. They played three straight games against the Nationals before getting an actual real rest day on the 12th of April.
I say a real rest day because they didn’t have to travel. This time the Colorado Rockies had to come to Los Angeles. When you take a close look at it, they had 11 days with no real rest. Traveling is exhausting. Going through airports and getting on planes is not relaxing. And it isn’t like these guys are working ten days straight while sitting in front of the computer—like some of us. No. They are on a practice field running drills, in the gym working out, and then under the stadium’s bright lights playing as hard as they can. Sure, they aren’t taking hits like in the NFL, but it’s a top-flight sport nonetheless—then, and these guys play through injuries.
Continuing on with the Dodgers schedule, after their first real day off of the season, they played April 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th without rest. And in-between the 15th and 16th, they also traveled down to San Diego. So, instead of getting to go home and rest, they were getting on busses and driving three hours down to San Diego, and then on the 18th of April, they played in San Diego and then traveled all the way up to Seattle to be able to play against the Mariners on the 19th and 20th.
What a freaking brutal schedule.
Now the LA Dodgers got the 21st off, but not really because they used it to travel from Seattle back to LA. From there, they played every single day between April 22nd and May 2nd. That’s 11 days, and they even had to play in LA on the 28th and travel all the way to Cincinnati to play the Reds in Ohio on the 29th. They played consecutive games until the second of May before getting a day off, which was spent traveling to Chicago.
This is the reality of a Major League Baseball Season.
Why is the MLB season so long and grueling?
To weed out the contenders from the pretenders. And once you realize how brutal the season is, it gives you a lot more respect for the managers and coaches and how they manage their personnel, especially their pitching staff. Inning length and pitch counts all start to factor into strategy. Baseball is about sustained winning over 162 games played nearly back-to-back.
There is nothing easy about that.