The other day Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Major League Baseball, held a press conference.
Main issue was a possible expansion of Major League Baeball. Another issue was the stadium situation in Oakland and St. Petersburg.
Manfred said that in the long term MLB will expand. He even hinted about a city as he said: “If we were to expand, I do think a city that makes sense geographically — meaning in terms of realistic travel distances and is outside of the 48 contiguous states – would be a positive choice for us in terms of growing the game.” One city outside the 48 states on the continent? Could be Anchorage in Alaska :-), but a more viable option will be Montreal in the Canadian Province of Quebec. In the past three years, Montreal baseball fans flocked to Olympic Stadium en masse to attend a series of exhibition games that featured the Toronto Blue Jays. According to Manfred, the Montreal mayor has expressed the desire for Major League Baseball.
Fact is that every city that has lost an MLB team through the decades, got a second chance: Seattle, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Washington (twice), Baltimore and New York (in the National League).
Manfred spoke about the expansion of one team in the National League and one team in the American League to put the number of teams in both leagues on sixteen, making it easier to schedule. Also the necessity of every day inter league play can be dropped then.
But there are other issues that need to be resolved first according to Manfred. The stadium situations in Oakland and St. Petersburg. The Athletics seem to be stuck in their current stadium even though many plans have been unfold. The Rays on the other hand have gotten permission to look outside St. Petersburg for a new location, but in the Tampa Bay region.
One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that an expansion in Major League will have a major impact in the Minor Leagues as well. Even though not every MLB club has minor league affiliates at every level, the Dodgers don’t have an A Short Season team for example and the Orioles don’t have an advanced rookie team, the two new clubs will need seven or eight minor league teams (AAA, AA, A Advanced, A Full Season, A Short Season and several rookie levels like Advanced Rookie, AZL or GCL level and DSL level).
Imagine what that means seven or eight new minor league clubs times two. That will be fourteen or sixteen new uniforms and caps. 🙂