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Q Broadway Express

Baseball Expansion To 32 Teams

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From Street And Smith's Baseball:

WHERE TO NEXT?

The next round of MLB expansion may offer some of the old and some of the new.

By G. Scott Thomas

Buffalo Business First

American League National League

East.                          East

Baltimore.               Montreal*

Boston.                    Mets

Yankees.                 Philadelphia

Tampa Bay.            Washington

Central.                   Central

White Sox.              Atlanta

Cleveland.              Cincinnati

Detroit.                   Miami

Toronto.                 Pittsburgh

Midwest.                Midwest

Houston.                Cubs

Kansas City.           Colorado

Minnesota.            Milwaukee

Texas.                      St. Louis

West.                       West

Angels.                    Arizona

Oakland.                Dodgers

Portland*.              San Diego

Seattle.                   San Francisco

Expansion is coming. Almost everyone in baseball agrees on that.

But when? And where?

Nobody can answer those questions with precision.

Commissioner Rob Manfred publicly raised the possibility twice during the past season. He said in May 2018 that "he would like to get to 32" teams from the current 30. He added in a July interview that expansion would be "great for our sport". Yet he outlined no process or time table.

The most he had to offer was enthusiasm. "I hope I'm around long enough to see us expand" said the commissioner.

Expert observers believe that Manfred's vague wishes will come true in the next five to ten years. "There are enough cities and enough good investments out there. If done deliberately, expansion by two teams would make eminent sense", says Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College economist who has written several books on the business of sports.

His view is shared by most journalists who cover the big leagues, as indicated by a new survey of 108 writers and editors by Street And Smith's Baseball Yearbook.

Sixty-five percent predict that two new teams will join Major League Baseball no later than 2024. An additional twenty-two percent envision expansion between 2025 and 2029. Only thirteen percent insist that the same 30 teams will be taking the field a decade from now.

If those results prove accurate, Manfred and the current big league owners will soon need to get serious about expansion. They can expect to be bombarded with applications.

As many as twenty possibilities are floating about. Candidates include one that has already lost a major league franchise (Montreal), two that would share matters with existing teams (the suburbs of New York and Los Angeles), a pair from south of the border (Mexico City and Monterey), two more from the Caribbean (San Juan and Havana) and a host of up-and-coming North American cities with big dreams for the future, from Portland and Las Vegas to Charlotte and Nashville.

The choice will not be easy.

 

 

 

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