Why is the baseball season 162-games long?

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Every time the subject of the length of games come up — and every time next season’s schedule comes out, as happened earlier this week — someone talks about how the real thing that needs to happen is for the season to be reduced to 154 games. Or 140 games. There are lots of ideas along those lines. They’re all non-starters because there is no way Major League Baseball is going to cut 8-10 (or more) games off each team’s schedule given how much revenue those 8-10 games bring in.

But how did we get to a 162-game schedule? Today at Mental Floss, Hanna Keyser investigates, with the help of the great John Thorn. The answer: math, mostly.

Which is interesting, because eventually baseball will expand again. Maybe not now, maybe not soon, but eventually. And as Thorn notes, the math gets harder every time the number of teams changes. So, maybe some day we won’t have 162 games. Maybe we’ll have, like, 180.

What? You honestly think we won’t have weather-controlling satellites and/or force-field domes for open-air stadiums? Pessimist.