Who knew NL Central had 11 different intra-division schedules in 13 years?
My previous post dealt with the curious situation of the NL Central teams playing different numbers of games against division rivals. Using Cincinnati as the example, the division schedule became more convoluted each season from 1998 through 2010 because of its strange inexplicable variety, which I doubt was known to many fans or media. Plus, I have no idea what it is for 2011. I'd like it to remain a mystery.
To more fully appreciate this variety, I created a spreadsheet for Cincinnati with the number of games against division rivals sorted in descending order for each year: 1998-2010. No opponents mentioned, just the number of games played.
In the 13 seasons covered there are two pairs of repeating numbers:
1999 & 2000:
2002 & 2004:
That's it. The other nine seasons have sets of games that differ from all others. Considering that there are only five opponents, it seems as if MLB was actually trying to make it convoluted, non-intuitive, illogical, unfair, un-American, ... What the heck was Bud Selig and his MLB staff thinking?
max-min 0 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 4 3 3 3 4
In 5 of 13 years Reds played at least one division team at least 3 more games than at least one other division team. In 8 of 13 years Reds played at least one division team at least 2 more games than at least one other division team.
Part of what makes this truly bizarre is that the team that Selig had owned, the Milwaukee Brewers, were switched from the AL in 1997 to the NL in 1998. Why? To accommodate the addition of an NL team in Arizona in 1998. MLB wanted the NL to have an even number of teams (16) ... for scheduling reasons. How is that for ironic? Obviously, MLB continued its practice of not thinking it through. The result was six teams in the NL Central and the scheduling mess documented in this and the two previous posts.
More irony: MLB is supposedly considering, now get this, moving Houston, not Milwaukee, to the AL to have 15 teams in each "league" ... for scheduling reasons. You can't make this up.