Rob Manfred’s vision as MLB commissioner has an international look
In 1969, the Montreal Expos became the first Major League Baseball team based outside the United States. The Expos left for Washington in 2004, but baseball might return under new Commissioner Rob Manfred.
There is no shortage of U.S. cities interested in luring an MLB team, among them Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas; Portland, Ore., and San Antonio. However, Manfred appears intrigued by the potential of a team in Montreal, Mexico City or Monterrey, Mexico.
Manfred, in his first weeks in office, recently discussed his aspirations to internationalize the sport during an interview with the Los Angeles Times. The mayor of Montreal has actively campaigned for an MLB team, and close to 100,000 spectators are expected to attend two exhibition games there in April.
The Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays have pursued new ballparks in vain for years, although the league continues to work to keep each team in its market. Manfred said the league has no plans to add teams.
“There has not been a lot of talk about expansion,” Manfred said. “In terms of internationalizing the game, North America, in terms of sustained international activity, is someplace we need to focus. Canada, Mexico, if we were going to think about it, those would be the kinds of places that I would be interested in.”
With the markets MLB would consider in North America, would it seem as if the league’s best available markets are not U.S. markets?
“I think that is probably right,” Manfred said.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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