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What is the scheduling formula?


wdm1219inpenna

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Hi gang,

Just wondering about MLB's interleague scheduling formula. I've tried to research it online but not able to find anything giving specifics.

I know the NFL has a set schedule already in place in advance regarding who plays who, and where, as well as for interconference games.

What formula, if any, does MLB use for scheduling interleague games each season? I know the Yankees/Mets, Angels/Dodgers, Chisox/Cubs, etc. play 6 times each year, in the "natural geographic rivalry" interleague set up, as well as other teams, Indians/Reds, Marlins/D'Rays, Giants/A's, Cards/Royals, Nats/O's.

Is it set up where the AL East plays the NL East once every 3 years, the NL Central once every 3 years, and the NL West once every 3 years? It would not seem possible to work, since some teams play 18 interleague games, others 15, and still others play only 12. For the Yankees to play the NL Central would mean they could only play a maximum of 4 NL Central teams (4 teams x 3 games = 12), plus the 6 they play vs the Mets. So how exactly does MLB determine these interleague matchups?

I am up and down on interleague play, sometimes I think it's ok, other times I cannot stand it. I think in the grand scheme of things it's good for the game, and I am all for that.

Bill

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Each team has an interleague/interstate "rival" which they play each year (Mets/Yankees, Indians/Reds, A's/Giants.) This really isn't part of the interleague schedule. Then each division plays another division. This year it was NL East/AL East, etc. Next year the NL East will play a different division which rotates each year. So in a sense you are correct ehn you say they play each division every three years. Not sure how they figure out how many interleague games they play.

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I've always wondered where the "Interleague Formula" comes in...

You mention those rotating divisions, but I've got a weird one for you

This year the Dodgers and the rest of the NL West were supposed to play the AL West. LA faced Seattle and Oakland. But instead of also playing the Texas Rangers, they played the Minnesota Twins which is weird, considering the Twins are supposed to play the Central. So I really don't think it's as simple as rotating divisions.....it actually seems quite random.

As far as rivalries are concerned, not all of the teams have them. The normal rivalries seem to be..

LAD-LAA

SF-OAK

SD-SEA

HOU-TEX

CIN-CLE

CHC-CHW

MIL-MIN

STL-KC

WAS-BAL

NYM-NYY

FLA-TB

ATL-BOS

That leaves the Phillies, Pirates, D'backs, Rockies, Tigers and Blue Jays without interleague rivals. I suppose starting up a new Blue Jays-Phillies rivalry would be kinda interesting. You get to see all these flashbacks of Joe Carter :D

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Next year St. Louis has the 6 rivalry games with the Royals and then also plays the A's and the Angels from the AL West and for some reason they also play the Tigers. Detroit has not been a regular interleague opponent for the Cardinals in the past; only in years when we play other AL Central teams, so this puzzles me a bit. It will sure be neat if the Cards somehow can win the NLCS and be guaranteed a WS rematch against either of their potential opponents next year.

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Hi gang,

Just wondering about MLB's interleague scheduling formula. I've tried to research it online but not able to find anything giving specifics.

I know the NFL has a set schedule already in place in advance regarding who plays who, and where, as well as for interconference games.

What formula, if any, does MLB use for scheduling interleague games each season? I know the Yankees/Mets, Angels/Dodgers, Chisox/Cubs, etc. play 6 times each year, in the "natural geographic rivalry" interleague set up, as well as other teams, Indians/Reds, Marlins/D'Rays, Giants/A's, Cards/Royals, Nats/O's.

Is it set up where the AL East plays the NL East once every 3 years, the NL Central once every 3 years, and the NL West once every 3 years? It would not seem possible to work, since some teams play 18 interleague games, others 15, and still others play only 12. For the Yankees to play the NL Central would mean they could only play a maximum of 4 NL Central teams (4 teams x 3 games = 12), plus the 6 they play vs the Mets. So how exactly does MLB determine these interleague matchups?

I am up and down on interleague play, sometimes I think it's ok, other times I cannot stand it. I think in the grand scheme of things it's good for the game, and I am all for that.

Bill

The Phillies and Blue Jays are interleague rivals in the sense that they are the two teams that were screwed out of natural rivalries when the Expos moved. Phillies/Orioles and Blue Jays/Expos were natural fits back when Montreal had MLB baseball. It's just another reason to curse the Wasington Nationals. Also, the Boston/Atlanta "rivalry" is hardly one that requires a home-and-home every year. Take 2006 for instance; the Red Sox had a home-and-home with the Phillies, and just one series with the Braves.

As long as the 30 teams are not in six 5-team divisions like they are in the NFL, and as long as the "natural" rivalries have to be scheduled in interleague, you'll always have quirks in interleague, like mentioned in earlier posts. It also means nights when there are 14 interleague games, and 1 NL game.

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The reason you have all of these matchups that don't make sense is to make the schedule even out because of the division sizes. I believe that every year a division plays the opposite leagues Western division, the games are taken from the Central division teams to fill out the schedule since there are 6 NL Central teams and 4 NL West teams. I believe that is the reason I saw the Royals play the D-Backs and saw Randy Johnson pitch for the only time in my life a few years back before they started rotating divisions.

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When the AL goes to 16, all this will make more sense, I hope.

That is a most interesting notion, having 16 teams in each league. Pitching is already so watered down, and it seems the fans want more "offense", so why not go for it?

Maybe have it like the NFL, with a North, South, East and West division, 4 teams per division. Then when the regular season ends, we would have 4 division winners playing in the Division Series, which would then be more appropriately named.

I toyed around with this idea for fun, adding the Carolina Strikers & Portland Meadowlarks to the AL as expansion franchises. This is how I had it looking:

AL East : NY Yankees, Bos Red Sox, Balt Orioles, Tor Blue Jays

AL North : Minn Twins, Det Tigers, Clev Indians, Chi White Sox

AL South : KC Royals, Tex Rangers, TB Rays, Car Strikers

AL West: LA Angels, Oakland A's, Sea Mariners, Port Meadowlarks

NL East: Phil Phillies, Pitt Pirates, Wash Nationals, NY Mets

NL North : Chi Cubs, St L Cards, Col Rockies, Milw Brewers

NL South : Fla Marlins, Atl Braves, Hou Astros, Cin Reds

NL West: Ariz D'backs, SF Giants, SD Padres, LA Dodgers

This would mess with the "natural geographic rivalry" for interleague play I realize. Geographically speaking, St Louis should most likely be in the south and Cincinnati in the north, however, I wanted to keep the 3 major MLB rivalries in tact by keeping them in the same division (Yankees/Sox, Dodgers/Giants, Cards/Cubs). Also, Cincinnati borders near Kentucky, which is considered a southern state.

As for putting KC in the south, I realize that may not be geographically correct, but that was where they ended up by process of elimination.

I would have 54 divisional games (18 games x 3 teams (9 home/9 away)

Another unpopular idea I'd have is rotating divisions every 4 years for interleague play, very similar to how the NFL's interconference schedule now works. By doing this however, the Yankees and Mets would only play once every 4 years, a 3 game series, alternating between Yankee Stadium & Shea every 4th year. So in 2007 it might be Mets @ Yankees for 3 games, then in 2011 it might be Yankees @ Mets for 3 games.

In other words, ALL 32 teams would play a total of only 12 interleague games per season.

54 divisional + 12 interleague = 66 games. This leaves 96 to be played with the 12 other league opponents not within the same division. 96/12 = 8, so the Yankees as an example again, would play Detroit 8 times a year, 4 times at Comerica Park, 4 times at Yankee Stadium. This would give a bit more of a balance I believe at least.

Bill

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I actually had a similar idea:

AL West

Los Angeles Angels

Oakland A's

Seattle Mariners

Las Vegas Aces

AL Central

Cleveland Indians

Minnesota Twins

Kansas City Royals

Chicago White Sox

AL East

Detroit Tigers

New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox

Toronto Blue Jays

AL South

Texas Rangers

Baltimore Orioles

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Charlotte Cyclones

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

Arizona Diamondbacks

NL Central

Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs

St. Louis Cardinals

Milwaukee Brewers

NL East

Washington Nationals

Pittsburgh Pirates

Philadelphia Phillies

New York Mets

NL South

Colorado Rockies

Houston Astros

Atlanta Braves

Florida Marlins

Next what I would do is make it simple... 4 "regular" interleague series for each team, against one opposing division. Then after that an extra two series for rivalries. So if the AL East and NL East matched up, the Yankees would play PIT, PHI, WAS, and NYM as their regular rotation, and then an extra two series against the Mets, so 3 Subway Series in all. As far as teams without rivalries, they would just play league games (say, Pirates vs Phillies, Tigers vs Jays, and such)

I like this idea very well!

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My idea would actually increase the interleague games, but be fair nonetheless.

First off, the division shifts. Shift Houston into the NL West, and shift Arizona to the AL West. Now we have 15 and 15. (Yes, I know I'll be playing interleague all year long).

Now, the scheduling formula. Allow each team 18 games (9 and 9) against each other team in their division. That's 18 x 4 = 72 games. Then play every other team in the league 6 times. 6 x 10 = 60 games, bringing us to 132.

Each team then plays 3 games against everyone in the division opposite you (AL East v NL East for instance). 3 x 5 = 15, sending us to 147. Finally, each team plays 3 games against another division.

Year 1: AL East v NL East, AL Central v NL West, AL West v NL Central

Year 2: AL East v NL West, AL Central v NL Central, AL West v NL East

Year 3: AL East v NL Central, AL Central v NL East, AL West v NL West

Note that one division is slated against their opposite division each time. That year, that team will play 6 games against their opposite division.

We'd conclude by adding one wild card team per side and have them play a best of 3 series before the best of 7 divisional series.

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I created the monster I hate so much.

Four divisions = very no. You just shift the Blue Jays to the Central and add in the AL West and East. The NL is untouched. Having three divisions is bad enough in terms of cutting off some older rivalries (Cubs/Mets), creating a fourth division makes it worse. Also, you have to have a wild card.

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I was bored one day in class and, being the ubernerd I am, decided to fix the whole schedule problem that MLB has. OK, bare with me. I too went with the four division idea. I added in a Nashville and Carolina team and moved the DBacks into the AL.

Next I will show how the schedule will look. I based it on the Pirates since they are my favorite team. The order I have the teams listed in will be the place they finished in the standings the previous season. The number in () is how many games the Pirates will play against that team that season.

1st 2nd 3rd Last

NL East: Phil(18), Wash(18), NYM(18), Pit(*)

NL North: StL(8), Mil(8), ChC(8), Cin(10)

NL South: Atl(7), Hou(7), Fla(7), Car(10)

NL West: SD(7), SF(7), LAD(7), Col(10)

AL East: NYY(3), Bos(3), Tor(3), Bal(3)

AL North: ChW-, Cle-, Min-, Det-

AL South: Tex-, TB-, KC-, Nas-

AL West: LAA-, Oak-, Sea-, Ari-

OK, so it goes like this.

- 18 games against teams in your own division

- 10 games against teams from different divisions in your league that finished in the same place as you the previous season.

- 8 games against the other three teams from a different division - 3 year rotation

- 7 games against teams from other divisions, non-rotation years

- 3 games against each team in a division from the other league - 4 year rotation

That comes out to a nice even 162 games a year!

I am such a dork.

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