Devoted fans have something to talk about from February to October (and sometimes November), because the boys of summer work a lot longer than you might imagine. Technically, they're the boys of spring, summer and fall. Pitchers and catchers set off for spring training at the end of February. The rest of the team shows up in March. They play spring training games for about one month. Then, from the start of April until the end of September, each team plays 162 games in the regular season. And there's the post-season playoff games, culminating in the World Series, which begins in late October. Players on a hugely successful team that goes to the World Series could end up playing a maximum of 181 games.
Baseball players have arguably the longest schedule grind in all of professional sports. The National Basketball Association, for example, plays an 82-game regular season spread out between November and April. The National Football League, meanwhile, plays a 16-game regular season, and the National Hockey League plays an 82-game season. However, sheer number of games might not be the best metric for deciding baseball players have the worst seasonal grind, because there are other factors in play. Football players, for example, play 16 games, but they take an incredible pounding week in and week out -- the kind that brings injuries and shortens careers.
Looking at the above schedules, for baseball or any league, one thing must certainly be special to the players: home games. It's usually half road games and half home games in professional sports, so baseball players at least get to play 81 games at home, sleeping in their own beds at night, being with their families and enjoying the comforts of familiar surroundings. Team owners love home games too: fan attendance receipts and happy players who are likely to play better at home.
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