One of the more interesting aspects of the collective bargaining agreement this week was the introduction of a new, balanced schedule. Beginning in 2023, teams will play five fewer games against division opponents, instead playing one series against every team in the other league. Teams will continue to play their “rival” Interleague team four times, twice at each ballpark.
Teams will face their four division opponents 14 times each season -- seven home and seven away -- for a total of 56 games. They will also face the other 10 teams in their league six times apiece, playing a three-game set at each ballpark.
Rather than 16 Interleague games, teams will have 46 such games on the schedule -- four against their geographic rival and three each against the other 14 teams, alternating ballparks annually.
As a result of the adjusted schedule, teams within the same division will have 91% of their games in common, an increase from 84% under the old schedule. Schedules among teams in the same league will feature 76% of common opponents, up from 52% in an unbalanced schedule.
With three Wild Card spots up for grabs in the new 12-team expanded postseason, balancing the schedule presents a more level playing field among postseason contenders.
The new schedule not only will allow for more parity but also will help balance the home/away schedules within divisional series, which saw one team host 10 games and the other nine under the unbalanced schedule. Teams now will host seven games apiece against all of their divisional opponents beginning in 2023.