Major League Baseball Needs to Expand

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a 10-part series commemorating baseball’s new commissioner with advice for his tenure. To read more about this series, click here.

An MLB team in Las Vegas? It isn't as crazy as it sounds. (via Joseph De Palma)

An MLB team in Las Vegas? It isn’t as crazy as it sounds. (via Joseph De Palma)

Baseball expansion has always been part of the game. As the United States population has expands, so does the number of professional baseball teams. But this trend has been on hold since 1998, when the Diamondbacks and the then-named Devil Rays joined the league. The time between expansions is now tied for the longest in post-World War II history at 17 years. It is time for Major League Baseball to actively begin trying to expand again, because the game is getting stale and mediocre.

Adding teams is not going to happen overnight. Who knows what legal ramifications will stand in the way? Television rights with huge contracts. Stubborn owners and/or players who don’t want to share their part of the financial pie. We all understand that the commissioner can’t just put two teams in Las Vegas and Des Moines (don’t laugh, Iowans are already starved for baseball with the current TV blackout rules) and call it good. The number of parties involved will be insane, but the process should begin now so in a few years expansion can happen.

Let me start with some simple facts on post-World War II, post-segregation, expansion. Here are the seasons in which MLB expanded and the number of teams added:

MLB Expansion Since 1960

Year Teams Added Total Teams
1960 (start) 0 16
1961 2 18
1962 2 20
1969 4 24
1976 2 26
1993 2 28
1998 2 30

The number of teams slowly increased, with the average span for adding a new team being about every two years. Maybe the the majors are at the right size. Maybe baseball has stopped growing because the United States has stopped growing. Let me step through the available talent pool of possible players by looking at the U.S population, starting in 1965 and looking forward. Baseball was not fully integrated in 1965, but it was getting there. Here is a graph of the U.S population (in 10 million increments) and the number of major league teams from 1965 to 2014.

In 2013, there were 10.5 million people per team, up from a low of 8.5 million in 1969 and 1977, from which to pull talent and fans. The overall interest in baseball among the U.S. general population has not been the same over the time frame. Basketball and football are now becoming the sports of choice among some athletes, especially minorities. But the influx of foreign-born players has easily made up for the lack of interest among American-born athletes, starting in earnest with Caribbean and Central American countries the mid-1970s and Asia starting in in the late 1990s. Additionally, the elite Cuban players are finding their way to American baseball again. So there are plenty of people in the pool.

So, now that we’ve established that expansion hasn’t happened recently like it used to, and that there are still enough people in the country to support expansion if done properly, let’s tackle the why — why should there be expansion? One reason is the run scoring environment. Run production has dropped from from a steroid-era high of 5.1 runs per game per team in 2000 to 4.1 last season. Pitching is now the dominant force in the game. The last four times the majors expanded, runs increased as the pitching talent was spread thinner. Looking at the two seasons before an expansion of teams and the two seasons after, the average increase in runs scored per game was a third of a run. Without expansion and if things remain static, scoring will likely go even lower as pitching talent becomes more and more concentrated.

The current run environment is not horrible, but what if it gets even lower? Strikeouts are boring. They help to win games, but they make for a horrible viewing experience. Everyone digs the long ball. Maybe MLB will do something like lower the mound again or allow aluminum bats or shrink the out of control strike zone, but the concentration of talent will still exist. It is time to spread baseball out some more.

Now, what follows is a matter of opinion. Some people may not see a lack of talent diversity as a problem, but I find it boring, like the NFL. Every team is a contender to the end. Everyone is the same. Evenly played baseball leads to fewer trades since so many teams believe they have a chance to make the playoffs (see the 2014 Royals and Giants). If almost every team is going for a playoff spot, fewer will be looking to dump salary and play for the future. This leads to mediocre teams, and mediocre memories. With expansion, you’ll have more action at the trade deadline, and perhaps even before it.

Without expansion, which spreads out talent, memorable individual seasons will become fewer and fewer. The two most memorable home run races in baseball history, MarisMantle in ’61 and McGwireSosa in ’98, happened in expansion seasons in part because the pitching talent was thinner. Having those great memories is what baseball is all about.

Two teams should be added as quickly as possible. Four additional teams should be added after those two. The six additional teams helps to regain the ratio of teams to U.S. population as it was in the past. Until 2008, the ratio of teams to every 10 million people in the U.S. population was less than one (see graph above). Right now the ratio is at 1.05. Using some future population projections from The World DataBank, the ratio will be at 1.11 in 2020 and 1.15 in 2025. By adding two teams by 2020 the ratio drops to 1.04 and by adding four more teams by 2025 it is back under 1.0. The need for teams can be then re-evaluated. I know it will be nearly impossible for MLB to add six teams over the next 10 years, but they need to start now as the ratio will continue to increase.

There is another reason why getting to at least 32 teams is important. Adding two teams will finally put an even number of teams in each league. When that happens, we can ditch the daily slog of Interleague games. Seriously, who likes that? Teams fighting for division titles are more likely to be playing each other at the end of the season. The major league structure could go to four or eight divisions, with an even number of teams in each one. Or just one division in each league would have six teams. Anything would work better than the current set-up, with an odd number of teams in each league.

After the first two are added, baseball should start moving toward adding four more teams. This is where the structure looks like the current format with but with six teams in each division. The current playoff format could be maintained with three division winners and two wild cards.

These new teams need cities to call home and this is where expansion will run into the biggest roadblocks. Teams don’t like giving up their areas of control, but a strong commissioner can persuade everyone to come together and move forward.

It is not going to be easy, especially with the Athletics and Rays already looking to relocate. Some possible new locations: in California near Sacramento, in Texas at Austin and San Antonio. Brooklyn or north New Jersey, if you can get the Yankees and Mets to play ball (good luck with that). It might be time to finally move a team to Las Vegas … maybe. The South is lacking for teams, with Charlotte, Nashville, Memphis or Louisville being possibilities. Also another team could be in Canada, with Montreal getting a long look.

MLB also has to try Mexico and Puerto Rico. I understand the reservations, but baseball is popular in both locations already and the whole country or island would get 100 percent behind a team. The new team’s popularity would be ballooned by interest in the States from expats.

The key to expansion is for an initial understanding and acceptance that more teams will be coming. Start by cleaning up the messes in Oakland and Tampa-St. Petersburg. Next, set up a committee. Have Joe Torre head it since he heads all MLB committees. It doesn’t have to really “do” anything, but it lets people know there may be changes. Pick a list of possible sites (here’s a start) and start working through the roadblocks. Maybe in 10 years or so, the first couple of teams can start playing and spreading out the range of MLB talent pool. Delaying expansion just makes it harder to eventually implement.

MLB is about to enter its longest stretch since World War II without expansion, and no plans exist for such a change in the future. The notion of eventual expansion to 36 teams needs to start immediately. It will take time to find some sites on which enough people can agree. Meanwhile, baseball will chug on in a state of mediocre play. Some people may like all teams playing around .500, but 20 years from now it will likely be called the third Dead Ball Era. So my plea to incoming commissioner Rob Manfred: Expand the number of teams as soon as possible.


Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.
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Jim S.
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Jim S.

The emphasis on pitching now is greater than ever before. As a result, there are more good pitchers now than ever before. Thus, expansion would do almost nothing to increase offense.

A team in Memphis? Have you ever been there?

Walking in Memphis
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Walking in Memphis

Well it’s no New York City but it’s also no Montgomery so be careful. Also, Memphis fans really rallied around the Grizzlies and Redbirds so an MLB team isn’t completely nuts.

That being said, I can think of at least 6 cities who would (and perhaps should) get it before Memphis.

jacob Eagleshield
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jacob Eagleshield

Indianapolis,San Antonio,an AL team in Phoenix,New Orleans, get those suckers out of Toronto and send them to Tucson. Create four divisions in each league and ELIMINATE wild cards entirely. Can’t win your division? Then you haven’t earned the right to play for a championship. Losers go home!

J B
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J B

The journalist who wrote the article provided statistical research to support his argument. Your counterpoint neither refuted that evidence nor provided any statistical analysis of your own.

filihok
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“we can ditch the daily slog of Interleague games. Seriously, who likes that? ”

I do. Just because I live in an NL city doesn’t mean I don’t like to go watch AL teams and players.

Steve L
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Steve L

A team in Louisville? We’re a college town. A Triple-A team is as close to the major leagues as the town will support. Besides, we’re 99 miles from Cincinnati.
As for the rest of the article, I disagree with the premise MLB needs to expand in order to address (prop up) run production.

Tim
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Tim

Was this a #hottake? It seemed like an ESPN editor assigned you a controversial opinion that you didn’t believe in and then you struggled to come up with arguments in favor. They should just do it because… What evidence did you present that any of those markets could actually support a ML team? You describe the current state of the game as “stale and mediocre.” To make the game less “mediocre,” you want to add an influx of inferior talent? More trades? This deadline and this offseason have seen more significant player movement than just about any in recent memory.… Read more »

Phillies113
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Phillies113

You mention that pitching talent will thin out. The same will be true of hitting talent. While I agree with some expansion to even out the leagues, 36 teams is, in my opinion, too much. I also disagree that heightened parity diminishes the appeal of the league. I like the idea that any team has a shot of winning it all; who honestly predicted Kansas City to win the pennant before last season? Who knows who will make it to the World Series in 2015? I’d hate it if baseball became like basketball where you only have a few teams… Read more »

J B
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J B

You mention that pitching talent will thin out. The same will be true of hitting talent. -> This argument would also have been made during previous expansions, but the statistics garnered from those expansions suggests that the spreading out of talent supports run production. I also disagree that heightened parity diminishes the appeal of the league. I like the idea that any team has a shot of winning it all; who honestly predicted Kansas City to win the pennant before last season? -> And ratings were down. I also disagree that evenly played baseball leads to fewer trades; in the… Read more »

Frank Jackson
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Frank Jackson

No one — not even the almighty commissioner — can decree expansion. It all starts with someone highly influential — or more likely a group of like-minded movers and shakers — in a city that really, really, really wants major league baseball. Typically, they’ll woo a team thinking of moving, but they’ll take an expansion team if one is coming on line. But I’m not aware of any city in the country seriously campaigning for a franchise, even though it might be on their wish list (hey, who wouldn’t want to be known as a “big league” city). When the… Read more »

james wilson
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james wilson

Right. Not very long ago Seig Heilig was working 24-7 to close the Twin and Ray franchises, so we may be confident that MLB has no idea what the future looks like.

The Boston metro area can support a NL team, and a NL team in Brooklyn would create a great rivalry with the Mets. But the other locations being bandied about are stinkers, like where I live in Las Vegas, which is by no means the worst. A fool and his money will soon be separated, so do not let the fools without the money make any decisions.

a different mike
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a different mike

Montreal has a plan and a team of dedicated, influential partners.

Prospector
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Prospector

Hear, hear! I’ve also been wondering why expansion has slowed in all the major sports, but baseball in particular. I’m glad someone with a platform is calling for baseball to make expansion a priority. I think new teams in Mexico and/or the Carribean would be a major boon for the sport.

DrBGiantsfan
Guest

Yeah, I don’t see any of this happening for awhile. None of the potential sites you mention seem very likely to be able to support a MLB team. You have to follow the money, big money! The Inland Empire in SoCal has plenty of population, but no money. The Silicon Valley has plenty of money, but the Giants apparently have a death grip on that territory. The next frontier might be international, but again, you have money questions.

The A’s and Rays situations need to be fixed and look how long that has taken!

Rally
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Rally

Instead of total population I’d look at the number of males between age 23 to 36. Or 20 to 40, or whatever aggregations the census has that better matches up to the people who play MLB. Much of the population increase in the last century is just people living longer.

Matt
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Matt

I have been saying for a couple years that they needed two more teams to get rid of interleague play and one of them should be in Puerto Rico, I’m glad someone finally agrees with me. I would get rid of divisions though and just have the top 5 teams make the playoffs

BaconBall
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BaconBall

In the immortal words of John McEnroe, “YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!”

Reese
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Reese

I would prefer to see relocation of the Rays and A’s first to stable markets with proper facilities. Rays to either Montreal or Charlotte, A’s to San Jose.

I don’t think there are enough good players in MLB in 2015, let alone to afford a dilution of talent for 2 additional teams.

Adrian
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Adrian

An MLB team in Cuba would be sweet.

Plucky
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Plucky

All of your arguments regarding the on-field product and scheduling issues are correct. They are also mostly irrelevant. Expansion is 95% an economic issue. Baseball cannot and will not expand unless the existing franchises are enriched by it. Adding an expansion franchise does indeed grow the overall pie by increasing the fanbase in a new area, but for most markets, a team located there would probably be a long-term recipient of revenue sharing. It also probably net dilutes TV money (and MLBAM, the most underrated tech company in the universe). The standard way to make everyone happy is an expansion… Read more »

Jon Luman
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Jon Luman

Anyone ever discussed merging NPB, KBO and the Taiwan league (maybe move a team or two to mainland China)? I think that might form a real competitor to MLB.

What makes a good rivalry like hundreds of years of national rivalry?

a eskpert
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a eskpert

This right here. I didn’t read your comment before I posted mine. I think this is the best option. It could get in on TV markets in another time zone. MLB puts up the infrastructure (umpiring, rule book, replay, streaming etc.) and gets something like 15% of league wide TV money, which is then distributed to MLB owners.

a eskpert
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a eskpert

I also think a single “national” team in China would be good for Baseball.

Steve Davis
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Steve Davis

I’m actually more in favor of contracting the A’s and Rays and keep it at 28 teams. If you did that you could also have every team play one home and away 3-game series against all other 27 teams and stay at the current 162 games. Move the Astros back to the N.L. and go back to four 7-team divisions.

Chris
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Chris

Better…

Slavin33
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Slavin33

Good idea…but if you contracted the Rays and A’s, you would have to move an NL team to the AL, not the other way around.

tz
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tz

MLB should add 2 more teams, and then:

1. Eliminate interleague play

2. Have two 8-team divisions in each league, playing 14 games against each divisional rival and 8 against the others.

3. Put the two division champions and 3 wild-cards into the postseason (the 2nd and 3rd best wild-card teams meeting in the one-game “play-in” game).

andrew reid
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andrew reid

Sounds good to me, but would the MLBPA go for it?

a different mike
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a different mike

This. I’d add teams in Montreal and either San Antonio/Austin and Northern New Jersey.

Thomas K
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Thomas K

I’d be much more in favor of 8 4 team divisions and getting rid of wild cards. Make the regular season truly count…..8 playoff teams, all division champions.

Of course I realize it won’t happen because baseball will never LOWER the amount of postseason teams/games. But it’s a good thought.

Chris
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Chris

Yes, I can’t help but think that most of the markets suggested here are markets that I can’t see having any interest in an MLB team. As other comments have pointed out, several of these are markets that love their college teams and have no interest in a pro team being present. The attendance at the two Florida franchises has never been successful; why would teams in similar markets have any different effect? I’m not really sure what the argument here is. MLB should expand because the number of teams haven’t kept pace with the U.S. population? So what? Hypothetically,… Read more »

Statistics don't lie
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Statistics don't lie

Improper expansion benefits the wealthiest teams the most (Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels). The teams with largest resources, the largest markets, aren’t asked to divide their markets at all. They continue to reign supreme in profits and payroll. They will continue to be able to afford $200 m/year in salaries. Let’s just add in a few more teams to the league who can afford up to $75 m/year. If you want to have a level playing field, then add 2 teams to the NY market, 2 teams to LA market, 1-2 teams to Chicago, maybe another one in Texas and… Read more »

bucdaddy
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bucdaddy

“Mediocre” and “boring”? Baseball in Pittsburgh hasn’t been this much fun since the early ’90s. Football is boring because there’s nothing left to see on a football field that hasn’t been done a million times already. What’s football’s equivalent of a no-hitter? Something rare enough that if you’re in the ballpark for one it’s a big deal, but not so rare that a fan who goes to a lot of games couldn’t reasonably expect to see one in a lifetime? What can happen in a football game that would make the other team’s fans root for your player in the… Read more »

Adrian
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Adrian

OT – I would never root for another team’s pitcher to no-hit my team. Never. If they did, I’d be impressed and give them an ovation when it was over, but not switch allegiances. Interesting that you would.

bucdaddy
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bucdaddy

I guess it might depend on the circumstances. 1-0 game in the last week of a pennant race, I suppose I’d have to pull for my team. Then, yeah, if the guy got his no-hitter he’d get my applause.

bucdaddy
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bucdaddy

Sorry, got off on a tangent there … A problem with expansion that nobody talks about is the simple matter of the math involved. If world championships were somehow evenly distributed, then every MLB team’s fans could expect to get one every 30 years. That’s already a long time, but perhaps not ridiculous. But world championships are not evenly distributed. Some teams are going to win two, three, four or more in that 30-year time frame, which will push some other teams back into the next 30-year window, and pretty soon you have a whole lot more Houston Astros and… Read more »

Casey Bell
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Yes! Your point about teams averaging only 1 World Championship every 30 years is one I’ve thought of before but I’d forgotten (getting old!). But it’s not just the fact that increasing the number of teams decreases everyone’s chances of winning the championship. What drives me nuts is that with so many teams in the playoffs it has become very rare to see the teams with the best records play each other in the World Series. What’s the point of having a 162 game season if you’re going to press Reset on October 1st and allow the best teams to… Read more »

Hub 312
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MLB needs to contract. There are cities that cannot or do not want to support a MLB team. Expansion will only create increased demand for payroll caps and revenue “sharing” and result in playoff baseball being played in cities where no one gives a crap.

87 Cards
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87 Cards

Get the A’s into San Jose. See if Montreal wants to/can support AAA ball. Evaluate expansion ten years after each event.

I live in San Antonio whose leadership who flirt constantly with the NFL and MLS. I don’t foresee viable economic support for MLB. I’m tempted to retire to Houston.

rhd
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rhd

I’m for expansion to 32 teams, but now is not the time to do it. But, as has been mentioned, there arent any clearly good choices for expansion cities. An MLB team in Puerto Rico? You must be kidding. I went to a couple games in San Juan when the Expos played there and there were hardly any fans there and most of those that were there cheered for the opposing team. The stadium was sub-par even for an AAA team. Any city in Mexico would be problematic w the violence and other problems there. Havana might be feasible in… Read more »

Eric
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Eric

MLB does NOT need to expand. The talent pool is already too thin. And too many players have forgotten how to play real baseball. This TTO – three true outcome stuff with .220 batting averages sucks. Go back to learning how to make contact, pitching and hitting.

Paul G.
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Paul G.

No offense, but after reading this article the first time my reaction was “What the huh?” Expansion? In this economy? Really? As others have mentioned, expansion is driven by demand for more teams. If enough cities are demanding a team, either there will be expansion or there will be an opening for a competitor. For example, the initial expansion in the 1960s was caused by the serious threat of the Continental League. The CL was going to put teams in Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, Denver, Houston, the Twin Cities, New York, and Toronto. MLB quickly filled in the gaps in Minneapolis,… Read more »

Paul G.
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Paul G.

One additional comment. I very much believe that if MLB thought they could expand to 32 teams they would. This would allow them to reconfigure each league into 4 divisions with 4 teams each, just like the NFL. The whole wild card was a kludge because they couldn’t justify a division with only 3 teams.

bucdaddy
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bucdaddy

“Finally, expansion does have a downside. The more teams the less likely any particular team will win a championship. As we learned from Montreal, the fan base will tolerate not winning anything only so much.”

Yes. See my long-winded comment above.

dshorwich
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dshorwich

A piece of errata, and a cavil: The chart of the expansion years and number of teams added shows an expansion taking place in 1976. It was actually 1977. To quote: “…the influx of foreign-born players has easily made up for the lack of interest among American-born athletes, starting in earnest with Caribbean and Central American countries the mid-1970s and Asia starting in in the late 1990s.” By the by, this sentence is missing an “in” in one place and has a superflous “in” in another. More substantively, it mischaracterizes the growth of Latin American talent in the game. Here’s… Read more »

Expansion Sceptic
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Expansion Sceptic

“Pick a list of possible sites (here’s a start)” says Jeff, and links to an article in which Frank Jackson conducted a detailed examination of a number of potential sites for new MLB teams. Read the actual article, and you’ll find that none of Jeff’s suggestions are especially promising. Frank looked at the top 40 metropolitan areas in the US, and in every case the conclusion was one of the following: 1. Population not wealthy or sedentary enough to pay for season tickets/luxury boxes (cities that lack for wealth and military towns both fell into this category). 2. Little interest… Read more »

Blue
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Blue

The money in SA is in the north part of the city. A southern-located Austin/SA team would be able to tap that as well.

Scott
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Scott

One of the problems is that the best interest of baseball and the best interest of baseball owners aren’t aligned. It is in the owner’s interest to have as few teams as possible as it means their share of shared revenue pot is larger and the local tv deals and sponsorships are also likely larger. So in order for a new team to be beneficial to the owners, it will have to be in a market larger than the league average and in a city that is not within another team’s “territory.” This would seem to rule out a third… Read more »

This Article Sucks
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This Article Sucks

If you find baseball in its current guise ‘mediocre and boring,’ why don’t you stop watching it? At least stop writing about it.

Tommmy Lasordid
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Tommmy Lasordid

32 teams
16 each league
4, 4 team divisions in each league
8 winners advance to post season
no weenie wild cards

Spa City
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Spa City

Please no expansion. Contraction is what we need. MLB could get rid of Tampa and Oakland easily; both franchises are mired in third-tier cities with terrible, decaying ballparks. With 28 teams we would have an even # of teams in each league, so no more inter league play would be necessary. But if expansion simply must occur, then please let it be Montreal and Vancouver. If population was the main concern, then the expansion teams would go to NY, LA and Chicago even though they all already have 2 teams. NY is much more than 3 times the size of… Read more »

Dan
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Dan

The key is to expand in the big markets and reduce the dominance of the Haves in those markets. This would HELP Oakland, Tampa, and the rest of the Have Nots. Right or wrong, spot on or close, there’s many ways to compare teams and markets, and the top 2 markets (NY and LA) are way bigger than the rest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Baseball_Bugs/population http://www.businessinsider.com/mlb-chart-market-size-influences-payroll-in-baseball-2011-8 http://www.baseball-almanac.com/articles/baseball_markets.shtml Address the Haves. Drop two teams around New York City–maybe in Jersey and towards Connecticut so that they also slightly affect Philly and Boston. Drop a team in LA to balance that market. Over the next 10… Read more »

a eskpert
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a eskpert

Why expand MLB? Why not create a new Major League elsewhere? With MLB support, I’m sure NPB, KBO, and Taiwan professional baseball could be amalgamated and become popular. MLB would run everything, take a sliver, and possibly fund a team in Shanghai (The China Jurchens or something) or something.

Marc Schneider
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Marc Schneider

Better yet, why not have another major league that competes with the existing MLB; the AFL/NFL competition benefitted the players and, ultimately, the fans. But you would have to eliminate the antitrust exemption for baseball.

Damian
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Damian

I stopped reading in detail after “[a]s the United States population has expands, so does the number of professional baseball teams.” From that inauspicious beginning, a skim indicated that this looked like a junior high debate team assignment.

pft
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pft

What if the declining offense is due to some other reason than an oversupply of talent. The expanded strike zone is certainly a reason for the decline in offense, at least partially, but what if there is not as much talent available. There is a difference between Total Talent and Available Talent. Minor league salaries being what they are, the attractiveness of other sports with more scholarships, increased college costs and a higher student loan burden out of college means fewer college athletes and HS athletes will consider the MLB unless they are elite talent and in serious bonus money.… Read more »

rdj3video
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rdj3video

The next round of expansion should probably involve globalizing the game with teams being placed in other countries, instead of adding teams to existing U.S. cities. Sounds like an impossible feat and a travel nightmare, but MLB should think global, not U.S.A. regional if it ever wants to truly “expand” the game. Several interesting ideas about where to try have been presented in other comments.

Steinbender
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Steinbender

Dear Hardball Times, This is an impressive effort by your new article writing algorithm. It has all the key terms, divisive opinions and blue/red graphs we need. It even made a funny about the power Joe Torre yields! Just a little nit-picking. At the start of the 7th paragraph we read, “Now, what follows is a matter of opinion.” That’s after we’re informed that: “the game is getting stale and mediocre.” “Stubborn owners and/or players who don’t want to share their part of the financial pie.” “Without expansion and if things remain static, scoring will likely go even lower…” “Strikeouts… Read more »

Casey Bell
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Thanks to expansion, inter-league play, and expanded playoffs, the two best 2014 NL teams (Dodgers and Nationals) only played each other 6 times and neither made it to the World Series. Likewise, the two best 2014 AL teams (Angels and Orioles) only played each other 6 times and neither made the World Series. More expansion would just make things worse. West Coast stars like Trout and Puig and Kershaw and Baumgarden only visit cities outside their divisions for ONE series a year, giving fans in those cities little opportunity to see them in person. The Pirates and Giants did not… Read more »

Casey Bell
Guest

I meant to say some teams finish playing each other BY Memorial Day, not “after”. A couple other things. Expansion does not reduce the appearance of mediocrisy, it increases it. From 1919 thru 1960, only 21% of teams won between 47 and 53 percent of their games. Since 1969’s expansion to 24 teams, the percentage of teams winning between 47 and 53 percent of their games has increased to 26%. Baseball does not need to expand. There are already more teams and players than even dedicated fans can keep track of. Don’t believe me? Quick, tell me the first names,… Read more »

Marc Schneider
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Marc Schneider

Agree with you completely. I simply cannot get excited about a playoff system that rewards mediocre teams that get hot for a couple of weeks, as we had this year. It’s nice for Kansas City but I really couldn’t give a damn about this World Series.

Yehoshua Friedman
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Yehoshua Friedman

Please, no more expansion. The birth rates in the developed world are below replacement rate, so previous population increase is not relevant. Cities are sick of ponying up their tax money for new stadiums. Talk of franchises in small market cities, especially in Latin America, is a pipe dream. How about a real World Series instead? Japan is pretty close to MLB quality. The NPB champion should get to be in the playoffs, followed by other Asian locations as the markets develop.

Statistics don't lie
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Statistics don't lie

I like the idea of a true World Series, but different to your proposal.

Perhaps national pride will enable the NPB champion to essentially become their All Star team. Could the goal evolve from each NPB team trying to defeat the others to all NPB team colluding to assemble one awesomely great NPB team so that Japan can compete better in the MLB playoffs?

Matt Lindsay
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Matt Lindsay

Each new MLB franchise needs 6 minor league affiliates. Where will they go?

Kevin B.
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Kevin B.

I think with the growth of the international market, and with the US/Cuba relations on the mend, that alone could warrant a two team expansion. But also, with the amount of talent that is present in the major league and minor league level, U.S. population trends, the money to be made (by cities, tv companies, and the league itself), and sparse open and willing markets in the west and southern US. These areas deserve a team more than say an Indianapolis or Rhode Island; Midwestern and Eastern teams would fall in the already saturated market and tricky home/tv turf wars.… Read more »

Statistics don't lie
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Statistics don't lie

There is more money to share among the NY, LA, Boston, and Chicago markets then there is elsewhere in US. Introducing new, poorer teams to the league increases the advantage already enjoyed by the wealthy few. There will be thinner talent overall, and still the same few buying the lion’s share, and a slightly larger group competing for the leftovers. There are 2 steps needed to move the system so that teams of various economic strength have better opportunity to assemble teams of similar talent. First, the megamarket teams should have their market sizes reduced by the introduction of new… Read more »

Kevin B.
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Kevin B.

If that were true, you wouldn’t of seen both Chicago teams, both New York teams, and Boston miss the playoffs, oh or the giant market Phillies in a rebuild. Of course it starts off with two mediocre teams (i.e. Rays & D-Backs in the mid-90’s). But don’t be so naive. Remember how quickly the Arizona Diamondbacks took to take a World Series ring, and how about the the approach of the Rays f young controllable players found in great drafts make them eventual contenders (2008-present). Yes the mega-markets are tapped, and newer cities aren’t going to be making Los Angeles… Read more »

Dave P
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Dave P

Adding 2 teams would be fine. Vegas is intriguing, but there’s a reason no major sports league has set up shop there yet.

Remember, while population does mean TVs, it does not automatically mean support. I’d add 2 Caribbean teams as soon as it was feasible. I recognize there’d be infrastructure issues, safety issues, etc., but the support would be immediate and total. Whether it’s Mexico City, San Juan, or Santo Domingo (D.R.), it would work. And depending on how quickly Cuba opens up, a team in Havana would be epic.

Mike S
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Mike S

Yes, 32 teams right now!: N.L. West: SF, LA, SD, AZ; N.L. Central: Col, St.L, Chi, Mil; N.L. South: Wsh, Atl, Mia, Havana or San Juan; N.L. East: NY, Phil, Pit, Cin; A.L. West: Sea, Oak, Anaheim, Vancouver or Portland; A.L. Central: Minn, Tex, Hou, K.C.; A.L. Great Lakes: Det, Chi, Cleve, Tor; A.L. East: Bos, NY, Balt, TB Note: against relocation, but if TB or Oak deemed necessary: Montreal could sub in for TB; Sac for Oak. Schedule: 162 games = 18 with 3 intra division opponents (54); 8 with 12 intra league opponents (96); 12 games remain for… Read more »

SouthernBoiSB
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SouthernBoiSB

Bud needs to move Milwaukee BACK to the AL & put Houston BACK in the AL. It makes NO sense to have 2 local teams in the same league (NYM -NL/NYY – AL, SF – NL/OAK – AL, LAD – NL/LAA – AL). & with that, HOU-NL/TEX-AL. HE screwed it up by moving HIS team & HE can fix it by MOVING HIS TEAM!!! I also think we should go to 32 teams because it makes setting up schedules & playoffs easier. Not to mention it makes things balanced. But most importantly, it will ELIMINATE interleague play which SHOULD BE… Read more »

mike
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mike

MLB Expansion -NL East Phillies Mets Pirates Natonal -NL South Braves Marlins Rays Expansion Team in Memphis -NL Central Cardinals Brewers Reds Cubs -NL West Dodgers Giants Diamondbacks Padres -AL East Yankees Blue Jays Orioles Red Sox -AL North Twins White Sox Tigers Rockies -AL Central Royals Astros Indians Rangers -AL West Angels Athletics Mariners Expansion Team in Las Vegas Each division winner makes the playoffs. No wildcard teams. DH stays in American League only. Rockies move to AL (DH at Coors Field!) Rays move to National League. Cities of Memphis and Las Vegas are new to MLB. Pirates and… Read more »

mike
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mike

MLB Expansion

-NL East
Phillies
Mets
Pirates
Nationals

-NL South
Braves
Marlins
Rays
Expansion Team in Memphis

-NL Central
Cardinals
Brewers
Reds
Cubs

-NL West
Dodgers
Giants
Diamondbacks
Padres

-AL East
Yankees
Blue Jays
Orioles
Red Sox

-AL North
Twins
White Sox
Tigers
Rockies

-AL Central
Royals
Astros
Indians
Rangers

-AL West
Angels
Athletics
Mariners
Expansion Team in Las Vegas

mike
Guest
mike

MLB Expansion example 3

-NL East
Phillies
Mets
Pirates
Nationals

-NL South
Braves
Marlins
Rays
Expansion Team in New Orleans

-NL Central
Cardinals
Astros
Reds
Cubs

-NL West
Dodgers
Giants
Diamondbacks
Padres

-AL East
Yankees
Blue Jays
Orioles
Red Sox

-AL North
Twins
Brewers
Tigers
Rockies

-AL Central
Royals
White Sox
Indians
Rangers

-AL West
Angels
Athletics
Mariners
Expansion Team in Portland

Don
Guest
Don

36 Teams by 2030: AL East. NL East NY Yankees. NY Mets Boston Red Sox. Phila. Phillies Baltimore Orioles. Washington Nats Tampa Bay Rays. Charlotte Knights Toronto Blue Jays. Atlanta Braves Montreal Expos. Miami Marlins AL Central. NL Central Chicago White Sox. Chicago Cubs Cleveland Indians Cinncinati Reds Detroit Tigers. Mil. Brewers Minnesota Twins. St. Louis Cards Kansas City Royals. Pittsburgh Pirates Nashville Smokies. Colorado Rockies AL West. NL West Seattle Mariners. Van. Mounties Portland Pioneers. SF Giants San Jose Athletics. LA Dodgers Los Angeles Angels SD Padres Texas Rangers. AZ Diamondbacks Houston Astros Mexico City Aztecs