Houston Astros: The ultimate 162-game schedule proposal for MLB teams

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and former Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and former Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros, as well as the rest of the MLB, can benefit with a change to the 162-game schedule, here’s an ultimate proposal to keep fan interest high.

Last week, Houston Astros‘ faithful, in light of major proposed changes currently being considered by Major League Baseball’s movers and shakers, I offered an argument for why every team in MLB should play every other team in each regular season. This article is an example of how the scheduling can work out.

Perhaps I am shouting from the rooftops, but as an MBA with a little prior experience in consulting and helping businesses strategize—as well as being a lover of baseball played at its highest level—I think there is one ring to rule them all to increase MLB’s profit margins while also generating exponential fan interest. It trounces speed of the game, playoff format suggestions, and how many batters a reliever must now face: simply put—all of the teams need to face each other every year.

Obviously, when professional baseball began, teams did not feature seemingly unlimited financial resources to travel by plane to face one another. As a matter of fact, the first powered aircraft flew ever so briefly in 1903 by the Wright brothers, preceding the first professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, by more than three decades.

Now things have changed. Interleague play commenced in 1997—a bright spot in a dark era of baseball marred by multiple players illegally gaining a competitive advantage through utilizing prohibited performance-enhancing substances. However, interleague play has allowed teams that might never have faced each other—unless they both reached the World Series in the same year—to play in one another’s stadiums in regular-season games that actually count.

Moreover, the ingenuity of interleague play allows fans to see great players of the same era face each other who might never have had the opportunity otherwise, such as the New York YankeesDerek Jeter against the Houston AstrosCraig Biggio. Countless other examples exist.

After prohibiting steroids, stepping up efforts to test players for banned substances, and enforcing new policies to eliminate electronic sign stealing, interleague play is the best thing MLB has done in the last 25 years.

But how could an interleague schedule work so that every team could play all of the others over a 162-game season? In answer to this question, I have created a template called the 10-6-5-4 model utilizing the Houston Astros, members of the American League West division.

The 10-6-5-4 Model

The following model places slightly more emphasis on playing an increased number of games against franchises within a team’s own league (i.e., AL teams would play slightly more games against all other AL teams than against any NL team and vice versa). Think of it as 10 games against each divisional opponent, six games each against all remaining league opponents, five games each season against 8 teams from the opposite league, and four games each season against seven teams from the opposite league.

For example, the Houston Astros would face the Angels, Athletics, Mariners, and Rangers for 10 games each season. Additionally, the Houston Astros would face the other 9 American League teams for exactly 6 games each season. Furthermore, the Astros would face 8 NL teams for five games every season, and seven NL teams for four games every season.

The schedule could rotate so that whichever NL teams the Houston Astros face for 5 games per season always adjusts in an equitable manner. In other words, over a 15-year period, the Astros will play an equal number of games against every NL opponent.

Here is a quick look at the rough math: (four divisional opponents X 10 games each season) + (nine AL opponents outside of division X six games each season) + (eight NL teams X five games each season) + (seven NL teams X four games each season) = 162 total regular season games.

Benefits of the 10-6-5-4 Model

In addition to the fact that this model allows all MLB teams to play each other every year over a 162-game season, there are two other major benefits to this format. First, this model forces franchisees to play more games against teams within their own league.

In other words, AL teams would play more regular-season games against each opponent within their league, than against any NL opponent. Some baseball purists might feel more comfortable with this aspect of the plan because it emphasizes AL vs. AL—as well as NL vs. NL—regular-season matchups more so than interleague matchups to determine a team’s overall record.

A second major benefit of this model is that the amount of games that teams would meet per season always remains divisible in baseball friendly numbers.

For example, in the 10-6-5-4 model, 10 games can be broken into two three-game series, as well as one four-game series; six games can be broken into two three-game series; five games can be broken into one two-game series, as well as one three-game series; and four games can be broken into a two-game series.

This means that there can be at least two home games and two away games for every team in every MLB stadium each season. Subsequently, this translates to increased revenue for MLB by incentivizing for fans in a given market to buy tickets to exclusive matchups on traditionally slower

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days of the week, or even during MLB game times competing with other nearby professional sporting events.

For example, if every team played every other team each year, baseball fans near Minute Maid Park would be more inclined to buy tickets to see exclusive matchups featuring key NL players like Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw, Manny Machado, J.T. Realmuto, and Christian Yelich.

Not to mention, if a prominent divisional opponent like Mike Trout comes to Houston less often due to new scheduling changes, baseball fans might be more inclined to buy tickets to see him or future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols in action when they are in town.

Next. Astros: Five reasons why all MLB teams should play each other. dark

And beyond the established household names, the NL features rising stars like St. Louis’s pitching sensation Jack Flaherty, or even fellow Cardinals hurler and Houston native, Jordan Hicks—whose fastball has registered as fast as 105 miles per hour in a game.