Posts Tagged ‘baseball expansion’

Expansion?

June 5, 2018

Recently, I read an article on Sports Illustrated indicating that Major League Baseball is contemplating expansion from 30 to 32 teams. Following up on that article, I found a handful of others that agreed. Apparently Commissioner Rob Manfred is all in to add two new teams to the lists. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I have some thoughts on this idea.

I’m not inherently opposed to this plan, but I do recognize that a diluted set of pitchers and hitters will make their arrival on the scene. Over the previous expansions going back to the 1960s that’s meant at least a temporary boost in offense. Considering we’re already in something of an offensive era, at least home run-wise, it may become even greater. Much of that will depend on the new stadia for the two new teams.

Which of course brings up where to put them. It seems the current frontrunners are Portland, Oregon and Montreal in Canada. Didn’t we already do a Montreal experiment? Wasn’t it a failure? I have no reason to dislike Montreal or Canada but what makes MLB think that a new team will do better than the Expos, who are now happily playing in Washington, DC? Again, I have nothing against Portland, but I would point out that over the last dozen or so years (well before our current President took office) Portland has experienced a marked surge in political violence. I like to keep the lower arts like politics out of my greater arts, like baseball, and I trust that will hold true in Portland also.

But I further question the choice of cities because places like San Antonio, Texas already have a big stadium that can be configured for baseball while Portland will need to build a new stadium. That’s not a plea for San Antonio to get a team, merely acknowledgement that Portland is not, at this point, at all ready to host a big league game. But more importantly, if you’re going to set up a team outside the Continental United States, why Montreal? How about putting the second team in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I know Bithorn isn’t ready for the Major Leagues yet, but it’s already there and can be used as a stopgap (as, it’s true, could minor league parks in Portland, Montreal, and other places) until a new stadium could emerge. I’m not sure how excited Montreal would be about a Major League team, but Puerto Rico would go crazy.

The article I read also indicated there were thoughts of changing the schedule to 156 games (from 162) and of course putting together new divisions and new playoff scenarios will need to be considered. On a personal level, I like the idea of two 8 team divisions in both leagues (they had 8 team leagues for 60 years and it seemed to work). For playoffs, first place in the National League West plays second place in the National League East and first place in the East plays second place in the West in a five game series. Other options will, of course be considered.

Whatever happens, the drive toward expansion will be interesting.  It may not happen, but if it does it will be at least interesting.