Whether it’s the start, middle or end of the season, you might have questions about the MLB schedule.
Maybe you want to know the length of the grueling baseball season.
Or perhaps it’s coming down to the wire and you want to find out if you’re team will make it to the World Series.
Although the MLB has been dead set on a specific count for many years now, the total games played is not always guaranteed.
Anything from COVID to lockouts have disrupted the calendar year every now and then.
But before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s start by answering the question you came here for.
How many Games in MLB Season?
Each MLB team plays 162 games during the regular season, which normally runs from Spring to Fall. Following the regular season, 12 teams qualify for the World Series based on their classification in the standings. Series teams compete in an elimination tournament and can play anywhere between 2 to 22 additional games.
Keep in mind that teams also play preseason games known as Spring Training. These matches factor in the total number of games played, regardless of their importance.
In the end, the MLB season length will vary for each team.
But, to get an idea of the full extent of the calendar year, let me give you the first and last date of the MLB 2022 season.
The very first Spring Training games took place on February 26, 2022.
At the opposite end, the Houston Astros played the very last playoff game against the Philadelphia Phillies on November 5, 2022.
The Astros won the World Series final in 6 games, officially beating the Phillies 4-2 in the series.
So, it was still possible for the season to finish at a later date.
And according to the scheduled World Series final, the last game would have taken place on November 6, 2022.
Given a 162-game MLB season, the start and end dates will vary from year to year.
This is typically due to venue availability and playoff length.
Furthermore, MLB takes a brief pause midway through the season for the All-Star break.
How many home games in the MLB season?
MLB teams play 81 home games during the season.
Which means that teams play an equal amount of home (81) and away (81) games for the length of the regular season.
If you include the preseason and playoffs, the overall number of both home and away games will increase, but not necessarily equally.
Keep in mind that Spring Training games are usually played in Florida, while some regular season games may be played abroad.
Teams are still designated as the “home” or “away” team regardless of if the game is not played at the home team’s ballpark.
Meanwhile, the distribution of home and away games in playoffs is slightly more complex.
First off, teams that qualify for the wild card positions will either play all their games at home, or on the road.
That is, the higher ranked teams in each wild card rivalry will be granted home stadium advantage for the best-of-three series.
Meanwhile, the division, championship and World Series are a best-of-seven series.
The team ranked higher in each round will play up to 4 home games vs 3 away games max.
And not every playoff series goes the distance (7 games).
How many Spring Training games?
During the 5 weeks Spring Training, teams play 30 preseason games.
This allows the coaching staff time to evaluate new players and get their established players back up to game shape.
In this case, new players can better be described as rookies, draft picks, players from an affiliate team or recently signed to their first MLB contract.
The idea is to give them an opportunity to win a spot on opening day roster and challenge already established players.
As a reminder, Spring Training has no effect on the team standings.
So, while players must put in the effort, these games are not valid towards World Series qualifications.
How many games in the World Series?
As mentioned earlier, playoff teams can play anywhere from 2 to 22 games in the World Series.
As of the 2023 season, 12 teams qualify for the playoffs.
The top 2 teams of each division are given a first-round bye. The remaining teams square off in a Wild Card, best-of three series.
The first team to win 2 games in the Wild Card round will continue to the semi-finals, known as the Division Series.
The top team in each Wild Card bracket hosts up to all three games for the series.
The Division series are best-of-five, while the Championship and World Series are best-of-seven. The highest ranked team between rivals are constantly rewarded home field advantage.
So, for the best-of-five series, the home team can host up to 3 games, while playing the two others on the road.
For best-of-seven, the home team will host up to 4 games and may play as many as 3 games on the road.
At most, the teams given a bye in the first round can play 19 games in the World Series.
Only the Wild Card teams can potentially play the 22-postseason game maximum:
3x Wild Card games
5x Division Series games
7x Championship Series game
7x World Series final games
How many total MLB games in a season?
In a 162-game season, the MLB schedules 1,312 regular season games for all thirty-two teams combined.
The math is simple:
(162 games x 30 teams)/2 = 2,430 games
*We divide by 2 because every team must face one another.
That’s a lot of games. And if we multiply that number with an average of 18 innings per game, we are looking at well over 40,000 innings a season.
Note that the 162-game season was first adopted by the American league in 1961, followed by the National league the year after (1962).
Prior to that, teams played 154 games.
There are some exceptions to the 162-game season due to player strikes and COVID.
By the time the The Commissioner's Trophy is awarded to the World Series Champion, an exhausted team may have disputed 214 games in the season.
That is 30 preseason games, 162 regular season games and the stretched-out 22 playoff games.
When you compare this to other professional leagues, such as the NHL and NBA, Major League Baseball is by far the longest – hands down.
And to top it all off, both World Series Finalists will have earned the shortest offseason amongst all MLB teams.
The Champs will likely soak up every moment of the glory, while the runner up team will have nightmares up until Spring Training resumes.
For the remaining teams, the season end is now an afterthought.
Those players are either enjoying an extended time off with the family, beers with their buds or just taking it easy.
Next season is right around the corner. It’s almost that time to prepare for another 200-game run!