For the first time in a long time, the Washington Nationals travel to Arlington (the series is in June). There may be some fans who are tired of the Rockies coming to town every year and, of course, 76 division games every year. One aspect of the new collective bargaining agreement is the idea of a more balanced schedule within Major League Baseball. The change along with other aspects of the new CBA will begin in the 2023 season. Currently, the schedule breaks down for the Rangers (and other MLB teams) as follows:
- 76 division matches (nineteen matches against each division opponent)
- 20 interleague games (usually four against a geographic rival, four against a team in a designated division, and the remainder against the other four teams)
- 66 intra-league games (against the same league but a different division)
The new CBA has the timeline breakdown as follows:
- 56 division matches (fourteen matches against each division opponent)
- 46 interleague games (four against a geographic rival and a three-game series against the other 14 teams in the league, alternating each year).
- 60 intra-league games (two series of three games against each team)
It sounds complex, but it is simple. For example, the Rangers will play their regular divisional games but will play five fewer games against the Athletics, Angels, Mariners and Astros. They will also play six games against every other American League team where some years they will play four against Boston, New York and Kansas City, while other years they will play four against Tampa Bay, Toronto and Minnesota. Finally, the forty-six games break as such. The Rangers will play the classic two-and-two series against either Colorado or Arizona (likely alternate) while playing a three-game series against every other National League team. Yeah, if you want to see Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Padres, you’ll see him at least once every two years. Or, if you’re a Rangers fan in Atlanta, you’ll see your Rangers play at Trust Park once every two seasons.
“I’ve been hammering the table on this for a while,” Chris Woodward told me. “It was silly to have so many games in the internal division. If we are not leading the division, we are not competing with our own division at that time. If you are in a division that is really strong, you are at a heavy disadvantage.Woodward referred to 2019 when the Rangers were chasing a Wild Card spot in July.Teams like the Indians [now Guardians] played against teams well below .500 nineteen times, which Rangers took care of, while Texas had to face power teams like Houston and Oakland. “I don’t think there should be an advantage for anyone,” Woodward said. “We should play more teams more often.”
“I feel like [the old system] worked, but I think being able to spread the games out across the league will help,” Charlie Culberson said. Charlie also said he likes the idea of facing an opponent at home at least once every two years. “I like it,” Charlie told me. “Sometimes you’ve been with a team for so long that you might not go to the other town once every six years. It’s a cool thing.
“In playing, our number one goal is to win every game we play. It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side,” Jonah Heim told me. “It’s cool to see all the ballparks and some that you’ve never seen and some you’ve played [and] it’s cool that we can play against everyone once, [but] at the same time, we’re going to go out there and win. “I like to diversify the schedule,” Nathaniel Lowe told me. The major leagues are thirty major cities in thirty different locations to enjoy.
With the ABC changes, the schedule balance increases. Teams in the same division have 91% commonality, which is higher than the 84% in the current system. For teams in the same league, like Texas, the Royals have a 76% common game schedule, which drops from 52% under the old schedule. The new schedule will also expand the game, giving fans who don’t see the teams often a chance to see them take the field every other year. It also gives traveling fans the opportunity to visit their team at different ballparks. Yes, Rangers fans, you can take a thirty-stadium tour every two years with the new schedule looking only at Rangers matches.
Finally, I asked Jonah and Nathaniel which ballparks they’re looking forward to and haven’t played. “The Mets are my number one right now,” Jonah said. “I haven’t been to the Phillies yet. I wanted to go to Atlanta, [so] I’m disappointed we’re not going. I want to play in San Diego too. I’ve been there a bunch, but haven’t played. In 2022, the Rangers will go to Queens, Philadelphia, Miami and Denver as National League baseball fields. Additionally, the Braves, Nationals and Phillies will be heading to Globe Life Field this year. The Braves will be in town for the next homestand next weekend.
For Rangers pre-game and recaps visit Plinck Rangers’ version