Expansion Could Alter MLB's Landscape
Image courtesy of Eric Bolte-USA TODAY SportsExpansion Cities
Montreal has been clamoring for a new baseball franchise since the Expos left for Washington. A strong outpouring of fans has started to clamor for a team to return. There would need to be more support for the building of a downtown park. If Canadian fans can push for the building of a new park, Montreal would be a likely destination for an expansion club.
Portland, Oregon has stadium plans and says it’s prepared if a team becomes available. An ownership group from Japan could be a likely fit since the Seattle Mariners, the closest team to Portland, is owned by Nintendo. While speaking in Seattle this fall, Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke about Portland as an expansion city. “I think Portland is a possibility. If we were to go to 32 [teams], we would need a Western time zone team.”
Minnesota’s new division would include a mixture of familiar and new. The North Division would likely include Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, both New York franchises and Toronto. MLB’s schedule would be reduced to 156-games so the Twins would face each division foe 12 times (six home and six road games. They would also play every other opponent three times.
If Minnesota didn’t end up in the North, the Midwest division could also be a likely landing spot. Baseball America predicts the Midwest would include both Chicago franchises, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Texas.
Only two teams, the Rockies and the Twins, would be playing out of their time zone.
Baseball only recently expanded the playoffs by adding a Wild Card Game. With expansion, the playoffs would change as well. Each of the four division winners would await the winners of four wild card games. Eight other teams with the best records would make the playoffs to square off in a wild card game. Those winners would move to the Division Series then to the Championship Series and the final two would meet for the World Series.
With the expanded playoffs, 12 of the 32 franchises would qualify for the postseason. Minnesota saw more fan interest this year while the club fought for a Wild Card spot. This trend could continue for more franchises with even more teams being in the playoff hunt.
Baseball is a game based on tradition and I don’t know if fans are ready for this radical of a shift. What are your thoughts or feelings about the possibility of baseball expanding? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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