Mexico City is a Front-Runner for Expansion MLB Team

by Clayton Richer | Posted on Thursday, July 20th, 2017
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Last season, the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres played two exhibition games in Mexico as part of Major League Baseball’s attempt to increase the popularity of the sport internationally. The teams played the games in Mexico City’s Estadio Fray Nano, home of Mexico’s Triple A team, the Diablos Rojos del Mexico. If you’re interested in betting on MLB games, check out our sportsbook odds for the last games of the season.

The game, which was played by split squads, featured Houston stars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, who opted to go with the team instead of staying in the United States. Astros pitcher Chris Devenski, with the help of his bullpen, limited the Padres to one run, while the Astros pounded on San Diego’s pitchers, and scored 11 runs, winning the first game 11-1.

In the second game, the Padres put up eight runs in the first inning and ended up winning the game 21-6. The final score was a surprise to some considering the Padres had one of the worst offenses in baseball last season, and never scored more than 17 runs during a game last year.

After two games in Mexico, the Padres and Astros had combined for eight home runs and 39 total runs. While this is obviously a small sample, some baseball insiders fear that is what will happen on a regular basis if MLB games are played in Mexico City.

Despite the high scoring games, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said at the All-Star game that Mexico City, Charlotte, and Montreal were cities that were in line for an expansion team. This was the second time the commissioner made the statement, having said the same thing when he announced MLB’s plan to open up a league office in Mexico City.

Manfred’s comments come on the heels of a rumor that was confirmed when Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA, told reporters the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play a regular season series in Mexico City next season.

Unlike the NFL, which seems hell-bent on having an expansion team in London, Mexico City makes a lot of sense from a logistical perspective. Mexico borders the United States, so travel shouldn’t be an issue. The city is very big with an estimated population of 21 million people, so there shouldn’t be any problem filling up the stadium.

Mexico City is also considered an untapped television market, which should bring in some additional revenue for the league.

On the down side, security will likely be an issue for players due to the violence in the country. Some players might also complain about the distance they have to travel to games during the season, but that shouldn’t be a big deal considering teams have to travel to Canada during the season as well.

For single players, the security concerns might not be a big deal, but players with families will likely be hesitant to relocate to Mexico City. Since the baseball season takes up as much as nine months, playoffs included, getting good players to leave their families and move to Mexico City will be a hard sell.

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Clayton Richer
About the Author

Clayton Richer is an MLB scribe from north of the border with a slight bias for the Toronto Blue Jays. Clayton has also been the shop-keeper at Baseball Hot Corner since the sites inception in 2012. Follow and interact with Clayton on Twitter @MLBHotCorner or @ClaytonRicher

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