ESPN Made A Fascinating ’30 For 30′ Short Film About The Science Of Scheduling Making In Baseball
Generating schedules that meet Major League Baseball’s requirements is more complicated than you imagine — and that’s not just because you’re a very stupid old lady (we’re assuming only stupid old ladies come to this site). The process consists of 30 teams who play a combined 2,430 games over 180 days. The trouble is, each team has to play each other a very specific number of times, on an equal distribution of week days and weekends, all while complying with MLB’s complex travel restrictions. For example, the film points out that teams traveling east from the west coast are required a day of rest.
As Buster Onley (who narrates the film) bluntly puts it, “There are so many crazy factors in play.” That’s what makes the Stevensons so special. They’re a married couple who sift through the permutations and rules governing the possible matchups — using a system they’ve devised — and emerge from their Martha’s Vineyard cottage with 30 schedules that basically allowed professional baseball to exist.
Without computers. Ya. It’s like the worst GRE question imaginable.
Here’s how they did it…