In a visit to the broadcast booth during the Chicago White Sox-Boston Red Sox game Thursday night, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred laid out the timeline for expanding the league and even pinpointed two cities that excite him.
The commish insisted the next collective bargaining agreement must be inked before final plans are set in place. He named Oakland and Tampa Bay as cities that need to resolve issues relating to outdated stadiums before moving on to expansion.
“Baseball is a growth business and growth businesses tend to expand,” Manfred said. He touted Mexico City, Mexico, and Montreal, Canada, as two possible cities deserving of MLB attention.
“I would love to see us expand. I think there are international locations–my personal, sort of front runner would be either Montreal or Mexico City–where we could go and play on a sustained basis and I think it would be great for the growth of the game. I think Mexico City in particular would be new ground for us,” Manfred said.
The idea that Mexico City might end up with its own MLB team shouldn’t be too surprising as Manfred has many times pushed for more attention to be spent on Mexico. Indeed, over the last year or so MLB has announced its intentions to play games in several places outside the contiguous United States, including England, Cuba, Mexico, and even Puerto Rico.
As to the latter, fears of the Zika virus caused many voices to be raised against playing there. Indeed, the series planned for May 30-31 between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins ended up being canceled over those fears.
Still, many feel the time is ripe for MLB expansion. The last time baseball added teams was in 1998 when the league expanded to 30 teams with the additions of the Diamondbacks and Rays.
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