The MLB is starting to show resurgence at their own pace, as young stars like Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and others begin to emerge during their primes. In recent news, commissioner Rob Manfred has talked about the possibility of expansion down the road for the league, and a few destinations have come to mind.
The cities mentioned happened to be Montreal, Quebec; Mexico City, Mexico; and Charlotte, North Carolina. One reason expansion could be possible involves the current stadium issues with the likes of the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays. The Athletics remain hopeful to receive funds for a new stadium in Oakland, but no progress seems to be made in that department.
The Rays however have lots of trouble drawing fans to their current ball park, otherwise known as Tropicana Field. Although they had made minor changes within their stadium, the franchise’s attendance remains the lowest in the league. The MLB and the respected franchises will obviously need to settle their disputes before any talks of a potential expansion can be mentioned, but talks of expansion are becoming a lot more realistic.
As for the city of Montreal, most of us know the history this city holds. Once upon a time, a franchise known as the Montreal Expos were relevant to the world of baseball. During their time in the MLB, the Expos only managed to make the postseason once (1981). In their only postseason series against the Dodgers at the time, the Expos went on to lose the series in a mere five games.
Although they didn’t last long, the Expos had a few great players spend time with the club. To name a few, there was Pete Rose, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Henry Rodriguez, Moises Alou, and more. The Expos had a lot of lean years, but played competitive baseball throughout the majority of their tenure.
In 1994, the Expos had arguably their best team ever on paper. However, that season was interrupted with the players strike. After that, the team was never the same. The Expos home support was so poor that they were even forced to play outside of Montreal for some select home games later in the 1990’s.
Manfred has also mentioned the possibility of Mexico City receiving a team as well. The issues involving this destination include traffic and the poor air quality. I think Mexico City would be better served for spring training, rather than a regular team for baseball.
As for Charlotte, North Carolina, the city has a Triple-A team that seems to be currently impressing. However, is it realistic to hand them a franchise? The MLB has thirty teams currently, and if they expand in the future, there would be a handful of barriers to overcome.
There have been rumors about switching up divisions, or even the format of the league as a whole down the road. While the idea is intriguing, it would be difficult to end old rivalries, as well as start new ones with no concrete background.