With a new CBA last winter, a new posting-agreement with the NPB expected this winter, and some potentially landmark rule changes on their way for next season (pitch clock? reliever limits?), Major League Baseball is clearly in a transitional phase of its history.
Change isn’t bad though. In fact, some times I even like change. (The Cubs aren’t lovable losers anymore. I like that change.)
But too much change all at once can be overwhelming (and unnecessary), so perhaps you’ll be comforted to know that Commissioner Rob Manfred told Bill Shaikin that expansion in MLB is still years away, with the stadium situations in Oakland and Tampa Bay to be resolved first. At present, the A’s aren’t planning to break ground until 2021, for what it’s worth.
In stray comments/interviews over the past two years or so, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (and others) have hinted at the impending expansion of baseball to 32 teams. We discussed this very topic recently. First, when we learned that there was reportedly a “building consensus” around expansion. And second, when people started getting into the actual logistics of adding a couple of teams.
But while the number of teams/divisions and the actual target date for expansion has been fluid throughout these past two years, one thing has remained very consistent (from Manfred, at least), and that’s still true today: nothing will happen until Oakland and Tampa Bay resolve their own ballpark issues.
In other words, Major League Baseball wants to know, with certainty and at a minimum, that the situations for those two existing teams is completely solid before they start planning the entry and, obviously, geographic location of two new baseball teams. Given that the A’s aren’t planning on breaking ground for another three and half more years, I’d say baseball is at least a little removed from adding new teams.
For those of you in favor of the status quo … congrats? For those of you in favor of expansion … also congrats? Baseball is clearly heading in this direction, so whether this expansion is now or in ten years, it’s coming. In either case, a little bit of runway to get fans used to the idea is probably a good thing (and may not even be an accident).
Fortunately, despite some hemming and hawing along the way, I think expansion will ultimately go quite smoothly. After all, baseball fans are used to it by now, right?
I mean, just look at this history of growth and change:
So whether it’s sooner or later (feeling like later), get ready, because expansion is coming.