It doesn’t feel that long ago that the cold specter of contraction loomed over Major League Baseball. Some will correctly point out that the threat was probably overstated, but, still – it’s a long way to go from that, to this:
Another area Rob Manfred where is different than Bud Selig: says he's "open to the idea of expansion" at "some point in time "
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 14, 2015
Manfred says he is bullish on baseball and open to the idea of expansion. Says there is a list of cities.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 14, 2015
Rob Manfred is open to possibility of MLB expansion: "We have a list of cities we think are viable."
— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) July 14, 2015
Baseball is awash in money as television contracts soar and attendance climbs (the former being the real cow), and it’s conceivable that it could support two more teams – even thrive with it. The current league setup, with 15 teams in each, requiring year-round interleague play and a tricky unbalanced schedule, could probably be improved from a mechanical standpoint with expansion. An additional two teams, making it 16 in each league could make things cleaner. Perhaps four divisions in each league with four teams, not unlike the NFL. The playoffs would become a question, then – still two Wild Cards? Who plays whom and for how many games? Who gets a bye?
On the balance, I wouldn’t quite say I’m pro-expansion at this point, though I’m open to being persuaded it’s a good move for the game. It’s not hard to think of some areas in the country that, thanks to the population shift over the past few decades, might do very well with a baseball team – Las Vegas? San Jose? Or maybe baseball finds its way back to Montreal? Or into Puerto Rico? Or Cuba? There are logistical issues with the latter two, but it certainly makes you think.