Posts Tagged ‘mexico City’

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A return to Montreal, a Mexico debut, or a new team in the Carolinas are all potential future scenarios for Major League Baseball, commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday.

Speaking prior to the Home Run Derby in Miami, Manfred remained adamant the the league’s current priority is finding new stadiums for both the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics, but acknowledged he believes MLB could be sustainable in three other cities.

“I know the mayor of Montreal has been very vocal about bringing baseball back to Montreal,” Manfred said, according to Mark Newman of MLB.com. “Charlotte’s a possibility. And I’d like to think that Mexico City or some other place in Mexico would be a possibility.”

MLB hasn’t expanded since 1998 when the league added Tampa Bay and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and hasn’t relocated since the Expos left Montreal for Washington at the conclusion of the 2004 season.

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As Major League Baseball continues to mull the possibility of international expansion, commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday he wants to see regular-season games played in Mexico City.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real-live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred told reporters, including MLB.com’s Richard Justice, ahead of Tuesday’s game between the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major Leauge team.”

Identified last year as a front-runner to land an expansion franchise, Mexico City hosted a two-game exhibition series in 2016 – the first MLB action in the Mexican capital in 12 years – and Manfred has said that “making a full-time commitment in Mexico would very important.” International regular-season play was jointly agreed to in the new collective bargaining agreement, too, so the league could conceivably start scheduling games in Mexico City as soon as 2018.

“We’re hopeful that what we see in Mexico will continue to encourage us that that’s a possibility (for expansion),” Manfred said. “We also had a good experience with the (World Baseball Classic) in Mexico. The venue was a good one. It sold well. We had good crowds – another positive in terms of more Major League-level baseball in Mexico.”

Whether Mexico City remains a viable market for an MLB franchise, however, remains to be seen. Executives and economists are torn on the issue, and the ensuing logistics, though Mexican-born MLB players remain enamored of the possibility.

“I think all of Mexico would travel to wherever the team is,” Adrian Gonzalez, the five-time All-Star raised in Tijuana, told ESPN’s Thomas Neumann last year. “It would be a team for the whole country. I think for the most part, people from all over the country would make their way just for the games.”

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International expansion may not be in the NBA’s immediate plans, but it’s not unrealistic to believe that a franchise could end up in Mexico City down the road.

While commissioner Adam Silver made it clear that a move wouldn’t happen in the next few years, he did say the league is looking into adding a team further south.

“Mexico City, in terms of international markets, is one we’re looking more closely at,” Silver said Friday at MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, according to Liz Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The NBA has hosted five regular-season contests in Mexico City since the 1997-98 season, with the Phoenix Suns playing back-to-back games there earlier this year.

Silver also previously stated that he’s entertained the idea of organizing a midseason tournament in Mexico City, in hopes of increasing the NBA’s popularity in North America’s most populous city.

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Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah envisions the NFL expanding its international reach beyond London and Mexico City, where the league will return for one game this season.

The Ghanaian-born Ansah, whose Lions played in London in both 2014 and 2015, says he would like to see the league play a game on his native continent.

“I would love to see a game in Africa,” Ansah told the Lions’ official website. “That would be good, and I think there’s a lot of potential back in Africa. I know that one day the NFL will have a game out there just like we do in London.”

Soccer is the most popular sport in Ghana. The Black Stars, the national team’s nickname, have qualified for the last three World Cups and managed a seventh-place finish in 2010 that included knocking out the United States in the Round of 16.

Ansah said American football is gaining popularity in Africa.

“I think now that there’s a lot of Africans playing this game, I know the young guys coming up have been picking up on the game,” Ansah said. “”When I went there I met a few guys that are eager to learn the game. It’s evolving in Africa.”

When asked where in Africa Ansah thinks the game should be played?

“I wouldn’t mind if they had it in Ghana.”

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Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is not only a fan of keeping the game fun, but he’d also like to see it make strides in expansion.

Manfred told CSN Chicago on Thursday he’d “love to see” MLB expand after a new labor deal is finalized, and stadium situations in Tampa Bay and Oakland are resolved, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

Manfred named Montreal and Mexico City as the front-runners for possible expansion sites, with the latter holding considerable interest to the league. “Mexico City, in particular, would be new ground for us,” he said.

Montreal sold out two exhibition games between the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox prior to the 2016 campaign, showing that passion for the sport remains high in the Canadian city.

Manfred thinks expanding the league to 32 teams is inevitable.

“I have said publicly that I think baseball’s a growth sport, a growth business, that sooner or later growth businesses expand,” Manfred told The Associated Press on April 21. “If we were to expand, I do think a city that makes sense geographically – meaning in terms of realistic travel distances and is outside of the 48 contiguous states – would be positive choice for us in terms of growing the game.”

The Expos were members of the National League from 1969-2004 before the franchise moved to Washington and took on the Nationals moniker.

After a 12-year hiatus, Mexico City hosted two spring games between the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres in January.

Portland has also been named as a potential expansion destination by Manfred in the past.

Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended for one game for berating an official in Mexico City.

Rondo earned a double-technical foul after harassing a referee in last week’s game against the Boston Celtics. Upon collecting the second tech, Rondo refused to leave the court and had to be escorted by his own teammates.

Rondo has had a rejuvenated season thus far, averaging a double-double with 12.6 points per game and 11.0 assists per game. He’s also averaging 6.9 rebounds per game, an astounding figure considering he stands just 6-foot-1.

After a slow start, Sacramento has picked it up of late, going 8-8 over their last 16 contests. The team has a large stretch off, as Rondo won’t sit until next Tuesday against the Houston Rockets.