How Does the MLB Schedule Work?
The MLB schedule sets it apart from other sports leagues with its lengthy 162-game season. MLB schedule makers follow specific guidelines to determine matchups and game dates. The league is divided into two leagues, the American League and the National League, each with three divisions: East, West, and Central. Divisional play takes up almost half of the schedule, with teams playing their divisional rivals 19 times each, totaling 76 games. These matchups often play a crucial role in determining division winners and wildcard races. Additionally, teams play either six or seven games against the remaining 10 teams in their own league, totaling 66 games. Interleague play completes the schedule, with each team playing 20 games against opponents from the other league.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for MLB has resulted in an expanded postseason format. Starting in the 2022 MLB season, a total of 12 teams will qualify for the playoffs, with six teams from each league. The three division winners and three wild card teams make up the six playoff teams. The road to the World Series has become more challenging with this expanded format. The top three seeds are claimed by the division winners, while the wild card teams are ranked fourth through sixth based on win/loss records. The top two seeds in each league receive a bye in the first round, known as the Wild Card Series. The remaining four teams compete in best-of-three series matchups. The winners then proceed to the League Divisional Series, followed by the League Championship Series, both played in a best-of-seven format. The last team standing from each league competes in the World Series.
How to Watch MLB Games
Television has played a significant role in the popularity of MLB, and fans can easily keep up with the action on the diamond through various platforms. MLB has broadcasting agreements with local TV networks and a partnership with ESPN for national coverage. However, with the rise of streaming services, MLB has adapted to reach a wider audience. Apple TV+ and Peacock now host weekly games on Friday and Monday/Wednesday nights, respectively. Fans can also subscribe to MLB.TV, which allows streaming of out-of-market games, the All-Star Game, and select postseason games.
Notable Dates for the 2022 MLB Season
|Spring training camps open||–||March 13th, 2022||Florida and Arizona|
|Grapefruit League and Cactus League games begin||–||March 17th, 2022||Florida and Arizona|
|First game of the 2022 MLB regular season||Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees||April 7th, 2022||Yankee Stadium|
|Atlanta Braves raise World Series banner||Cincinnati Reds @ Atlanta Braves||April 7th, 2022||Truist Park|