Atlanta Braves Morning Chop: 5 Ways MLB Could Shake Things Up for Fans

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Apr 4, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; General view of the stadium with snow and a baseball before the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Toronto Blue Jays at the Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

1. Expansion

Baseball has been suffering through this 30-team league with whacky scheduling being the result.  Because the leagues are at a balanced 15-15 count, there’s always at least one inter-league series in progress.

That leads to problems such as the split 4-game series:  2 at my place and 2 at yours... often consecutively, sometimes as a “fill in” on the way to another city.

This will never be resolved unless… Major League Baseball expands once again.  32 teams, 16 in each league.

The odds-on favorite for the 31st team would be back in Montreal – a revival of the Expos.  A 32nd team would be… more interesting to select.

The largest US Metropolitan areas without a major league team are…

  • Charlotte, NC (22nd largest overall)
  • Portland, OR (24th)
  • San Antonio (25th)
  • Orlando (26th)
  • Sacramento, CA (27th)

For comparison purposes:  Denver is 21st, Pittsburgh 23rd, Cincinnati is 28th, Kansas City is 29th, and Cleveland 31st…all are in the 2-3 million population range.  Milwaukee is 39th (1.57 million).

Also:  Columbus, OH (32nd), Indianapolis (33rd), and Nashville (36th) could all be viable destinations as well.  Las Vegas (30th) is often mentioned prominently, though I would expect that the vast majority of visitors to this city would not be interested in baseball.

If you want to think way out of the box, then Mexico City could be a choice:  at a population of roughly 9 million, it would certainly have a very interested fan base.  The biggest concern with that venue would be the altitude:  it’s higher than Denver at nearly 1.4 miles about sea level.

It would probably be wise to place at least one new club west of the Mississippi River – thus either a Texas location or Mexico City makes most sense to go with Montreal.


None of these cities currently have a ballpark that’s up to major league standards, excepting Montreal.  Mexico City has Foro Sol, but this would require some significant upgrades.

A good number of these cities mentioned above currently host minor league teams (up to the AAA level), but many have recently built/upgraded those facilities.  Orlando’s problem would be a lack of desire in the state to assist in funding a major league stadium (thanks to the Marlins’ fiasco).

The other problem associated with expansion would be the dilution of talent.  As it is, teams currently have difficulty keeping a viable 5-man pitching rotation, plus the kind of hitting that would sustain an offense.  Adding 2 more clubs would necessarily exacerbate that problem, requiring a full minor league structure – up to 300 additional professional players each.

My solution to that:

  • Reduce all rosters by 2 players per club.  That accounts for roughly half the additional players needed.
  • Implement a full International draft for 16-year-olds.  While even saying that brings a shudder to my own sensibilities, it would eliminate a lot of the shady dealing that we’re seeing today… and probably increase the player base.
  • Rely on future international expansion for the additional players needed.
  • Re-emphasize baseball support in urban areas in an effort to raise participation in Little Leagues, particularly among minorities.

Over time, I believe that issue would then resolve itself.

Next: Time to Re-arrange the Deck Chairs