Is Major League Baseball Ready to add Teams??
Is Major League Baseball preparing to add teams in the near future? If you listened to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred's "Discussion" at the MLB Fan Fest in Miami, you'd have to say the answer is yes.
Manfred told the assembled writer and photographer masses he's interested in making his league--which hasn't added teams since 1998 a 32 team league instead of 30.
Mind you---Manfred did not say it was imminent, he wants the two teams with significant stadium issues to get those dealt with first. Tampa Bay and Oakland are saddled with not-so-team friendly deals on largely outdated or awkward stadiums. However both require someone actually building a new facility---we're guessing on the backs of residents/taxpayers...something we'd never support.
However Manfred did proceed to list 3 cities he'd like to see come into the fold. Charlotte, Mexico City and Montreal. All are interesting in their own way---particularly Mexico City---a huge baseball market with tons of people but questionable corporate support. Montreal as many know had a team (now the Washington Nationals) with some successes in the 1970's and 80's but a horrible stadium helped drive them out. And Charlotte is also a big Southern Market with tons of corporate money and a lot of people.
Strangely---or not, there doesn't seem to be video of this conversation:
"Let me go back to a conversation we've had already. I think for us to expand we need to be resolved in Tampa and Oakland in terms of their stadium situations. As much as I hope that both Oakland and Tampa will get stadiums, I think it would be difficult to convince the owners to go forward with an expansion until those situations are resolved.
Once they're done, I think we have some great candidates. I know the mayor of Montreal has been very vocal about bringing baseball back to Montreal. It was not great when the Expos left. The fact of the matter was baseball was successful in Montreal for a very long time. Charlotte is a possibility. And I would like to think that Mexico City or some place in Mexico would be another possibility."
Will this actually happen?? God knows. Both Tampa and Oakland have had issues for years with little hint of resolution. Is Mexico City viable? Lord knows. Or Montreal?? And Charlotte? Who is willing to build a stadium and fork over what will likely be a hefty expansion fee? Your guess is as good as mine.
But it is out there. And with other sports doing what they do, Baseball needs to keep up. Only time will tell---but this is the furthest the conversation has gotten in a long, long time....