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Old 09-17-2003, 03:10 AM   #1
Le Grande Orange
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MLB scheduling regulations

I managed to find the last two collective bargaining agreements between the owners and players online, and in there are some rather specific rules governing the MLB schedule I was unaware of.

Here are some of the more interesting rules in place:

The season is specified to be 162 games per team, to be played over a period no shorter than 178 days and no longer than 183 days.

The tentative schedule for the following season is to be presented to the players' union no later than July 1 of the current season, and the union's review of the proposed schedule is to be complete no later than Oct. 15 (this means that the tentative 2004 schedule was presented to the union by July 1st of 2003).

There are a number of rules in place governing split doubleheaders (these are not specifically defined in the agreement, but presumably are split admission, day-night doubleheaders). These cannot be put into the original schedule, and can only be created by the rescheduling of postponed games. Teams are normally permitted only two such split doubleheaders at home during the season. A team requesting any more than that has to have the permission of the union.

Doubleheaders cannot be scheduled on consecutive days in the original schedule.

Twlight-night doubleheaders are limited to 3 per home team per season in the original schedule. It cannot be scheduled on a getaway day however (i.e. the last day either of the teams is playing in that city). Interestingly, there are no listed limitations on the number of day doubleheaders than can be scheduled. (Presumably, the two-for-one nature of doubleheaders precludes most owners from scheduling them and owners would prefer each game be charged as a separate admission.)

One day stands (i.e. 1 game series) cannot be scheduled except as season openers. A one day stand consisting of a doubleheader is permitted, provided the next day is an off day. A postponed game can be rescheduled as a one day stand only as required to complete the season.

A club cannot be scheduled to play more than 20 days in a row without an off day. When involving a previously postponed game being rescheduled, a club can play a maximum of 24 days in a row without an off day.

Starting with the second scheduled game, no team is to have more than 2 off days in any 7 day period (except for the All-Star Break).

A team travelling from the Pacific time zone to the Eastern time zone is to have one day off, except that each league is allowed a total of 7 instances for the season where a team is allowed to play a game in the Eastern time zone starting at 7 p.m. or later after having played a game starting at 5 p.m. or earlier in the Pacific time zone the day prior. However, no individual club can have more than one such instance during the season.

There are a large number of rules which govern the actual start times of games, which I won't all cover here. I'll just mention a couple of examples: no more than 4 games per league is permitted to start between 10:30 a.m. and 12 noon local time; a game can be scheduled to start no later than 5 p.m. local time on the day before playing a scheduled day doubleheader.
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:59 AM   #2
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Doesn't seem like they followed the rules this year, Phillies played 27 games in 27 days. Did they have an off day? I don't remember.
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:28 AM   #3
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Interesting. LGO, I never really put much thought into schedules until I started reading your posts. Now I put a great deal of thought into them.
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Old 09-17-2003, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by jaxmagicman
Doesn't seem like they followed the rules this year, Phillies played 27 games in 27 days. Did they have an off day? I don't remember.
One of those games was a make-up game following a rain-out in Boston. BUT that still seems to contradict the 24 days even with postponements bit of the rule. Unless their was a double-header on one of those 27 games which gave them a proper day off.
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Old 09-17-2003, 02:52 PM   #5
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No, I checked it. They played 27 days straight without one off, from August 19 to September 14. Monday September 1 should have been an off day, but was when the Boston makeup was scheduled.

Maybe the Phillies, needing every chance to win a game they can get (being in a wild card race) waived that part of the scheduling rules? Is that possible?
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Old 09-17-2003, 03:44 PM   #6
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Maybe Larry Bowa called them all a bunch of pussies and forced them to play.
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Old 09-17-2003, 03:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by dougaiton
One of those games was a make-up game following a rain-out in Boston. BUT that still seems to contradict the 24 days even with postponements bit of the rule. Unless their was a double-header on one of those 27 games which gave them a proper day off.
Wow, we've got proof the men in black are out to get the Phillies.
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Old 09-17-2003, 04:48 PM   #8
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Although I didn't mention it, yes, there are waivers possible for some of the particular rules. Either the union itself issues an exemption, or, the restriction can be waived by a majority vote of the players of the two involved clubs, depending on the particular rule involved.

If you want to download the agreements yourself, go here: http://roadsidephotos.com/baseball/data.htm

You'll find them under the "Labor-Related Matters" sections. There are also a lot of other great things you can find at this site as well (I'm sure some of you are already well aware of it).

By the way, I can say that the maximum 20 days in a row played rule came into effect in 1977. In the 1976 original schedule, there are some teams scheduled to play much longer stretches without a day off (Boston, for example, had one of 27 days and another of 34 days). However, in the 1977 original schedule, there is nothing longer than 20 days for any of the teams, and most teams topped out at just 17 days in a row.

Given that there was a lockout in spring training in 1976, and, while primarily involving a dispute over free agency, I would assume that part of the agreement reached included the 20 day rule, which was to take effect in 1977.
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