Major League Baseball has been considering possible destinations for league expansion for a couple of years now.
After hosting several World Baseball Classic and exhibition games in Mexico recently, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would like to see regular season games held there.
We could see it become a reality as soon as the 2018 season.
The commissioner addressed the issue directly at a press conference on Wednesday.
“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”
The league has been encouraged with the way games have sold in Mexico in the past. With one team located in Mexico, it essentially becomes a team for the entire country. They would expect fans to travel from all over Mexico to support the team, both emotionally and financially.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t those who feel like expansion into Mexico would be a problem. Aside from the obvious issues resulting from international travel, there are a number of U.S. cities that are currently vying for a team. Oklahoma City, Nashville, and the entire state of North Carolina have all expressed interest in the past.
There is also the issue of talent dilution in the league. With 30 teams already in place, and 25 players on each active roster, there are concerns that the league would be spreading itself too thin. A number of teams find themselves in the basement of the league year after year, leading some to call for the league to move in the opposite direction and get rid of two teams.
Any expansion would likely come in two’s; one for both the American and National league. It is unclear what league a team based in Mexico would play in. Interest in baseball is at an all time high, and if the league has its way, it will begin to move south of the border, becoming the first American sports league to have teams in three countries.