ATLANTA — ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves are off to a rough start, but it’s a long baseball season.

A very long season.

In fact, it’s such a long season that if you buy peanuts and crackerjacks at every Braves game this season, home and away, your food bill would be around $1,600.

Major League Baseball teams play 162 regular season games. That’s twice as long as an NBA season and ten times longer than an NFL season.

Why?

Baseball historians tells us the number of games fluctuated until 1920, when Major League Baseball decided to lock down a consistent schedule. There were eighteen teams at the time divided into two divisions.

Baseball decided it would work for each team to play its seven division rivals twenty-two times each for a 154 game schedule. Since baseball is a more slow paced, non-contact sport, players could endure a season of that length.

In 1961,  Major League Baseball started adding teams. To continue playing each division rival twenty-two times would mean playing nearly two-hundred games.

“Owners ultimately put a stop to the 22 game format and settled on 162 games,” says baseball historian John Thorn.

The league agreed on eighteen games per rival and set the season at 162 games.

There have been more teams added since then and more adjustments to keep the number at 162. Any longer and the World Series will compete with Thanksgiving.

Some Major League players have complained that the season is already too long and leads to fatigue and injury. But so far, the tradition of a 162 game season has held for over fifty years.