Manfred was in Monterrey, Mexico on Friday for the Dodgers-Padres series and took time to visit the broadcast booths of both teams during the game. A common topic of conversation for both interviews? Making Major League Baseball a 32-team league.
Rob Manfred said on @FOXSportsSD telecast that @MLB “would like to get to 32” teams, citing benefits to scheduling and playoff format. When asked about Montreal and Mexico, he said both are possible expansion locations. @MLBNetwork @LasMayores
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 5, 2018
Rob Manfred in the SportsNet LA booth this inning: "We'd like to be a 32-team league."
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) May 5, 2018
Talk of expanding MLB to 32 teams has been around for a while now. Several cities have been thought to make sense for expansion, like Montreal, Charlotte, New Orleans, Las Vegas or Portland. It’s also likely not a coincidence that Manfred chose to discuss this topic during the Mexico Series, as Mexico City has been mentioned as one of Manfred’s favorite possibilities for a new MLB team.
Adding two more teams to MLB would make some mathematical sense, namely that an even number of teams in both the American and National League would do away with constant interleague play during the season. Manfred also hinted at 32 teams making scheduling easier and change the playoff format, likely thanks to a divisional realignment.
MLB currently sits with the NBA at 30 teams. The NFL has been at 32 teams since adding the Texans in 2002 and the NHL is nearing 32 thanks to the addition of the Las Vegas Golden Knights and a Seattle team expected close behind it. MLB is doing just fine in the revenue department, but adding the benefits of another two teams and matching the reach of other leagues is clearly on the commissioner’s radar.
Whatever Manfred wants to happen, any actual expansion is still likely far down the road. Selecting expansion cities, finding an ownership group for the team, setting up an expansion draft, figuring out Minor League affiliates, building stadiums and everything else would take years, so don’t expect to be rooting for (or against) a new MLB team in the near future.
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