MLB Looking To Expand Too Early?


Unless you missed it over the weekend, Bud Selig is no longer the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. After ending what has been regarded as a successful tenure, Robert Manfred has stepped in to take over the torch. Despite Selig stepping down however, he still has plenty of ideas in which MLB could change, and he shared his dream for international expansion recently.

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If you remember correctly, it was Bud Selig that brought the World Baseball Classic to the masses. After baseball was snubbed in the Olympics, Selig wanted baseball to be played at a level more expansive than MLB. His goal was to make the sport accessible to all regions of the globe, and the World Baseball Classic was his answer. Apparently however, he believes MLB has a place in the same pond.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Selig talked of an idea that MLB could expand onto the international scene and into other countries. He said, “My dream is for this sport to really have an international flavor. Does it need teams in other countries? If one uses a lot of vision it could.”

At this point Mexican cities, Monterrey and Mexico City have been mentioned as places that teams could pop up, but there are no current indications that MLB is looking into anything of the sort. Canada is also already an owner of a franchise, but could be again considered. There is always the possibility of baseball crazed countries such as Central and South Americas as well.

Right now, Selig’s vision appears to be more of a pie in the sky. Baseball is a game played on a daily basis, and extensive travel could prove both costly and inefficient to the game. With that in mind, I don’t believe we’ve even hit on the biggest hurdle however. Expansion before perfection is something that can cripple a good thing.

Take a look at the National Football League. During the 2014 calendar season alone, the sport has seen poor officiating, scandals, and playoff game debacles. Throughout all of this, the Commissioner is focused on sending teams to London, changing scoring, and making rule tweaks. The key theme here is that sweeping changes are being looked at before perfecting what good is already in place.

Right now, Major League Baseball is enjoying its highest viewership ever. While not every stadium is packed on a daily basis, television numbers are as strong as they have ever been. With that in mind, baseball has plenty to iron out before expanding further. Making sure that replay is perfect, figuring out what the answer to the pace of play question is, and maybe most importantly, Robert Manfred simply settling in to his new role.

Sure, it may be fun to think of the possibilities for the game in other areas, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves and ruin what good is already going.

Next: MLB: Rule Changes Suggest Out With The Old In With The New

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