Commissioner Rob Manfred made a trip south of the border this Thursday in an attempt to build relations with our neighbors to the south. The love of baseball is very evident in Mexico and there are a lot of untapped resources in the country.
The MLB hierarchy was on hand with the intent to build relations with the country and its historic Mexican Leagues. Manfred shared his beliefs that a Major League franchise could one day play its home games in Mexico. The country is on an economic upswing, but would need a lot more funding before adding a franchise would be possible.
There has been a history of Major League games played in Mexico. On August 16-18 1996 the San Diego Padres and New York Mets played a three game series in Monterey. The two teams drew in excess of 67,000 fans in the three game series and it was an astounding success. On April 4, 1999 the Colorado Rockies and Padres played the first opening day series outside of the United States or Canada.
Manfred insisted the possibility of a Major League franchise remains realistic but the project is a long-term situation. The governor of Sinaloa Mario Lopez Valdez was on hand as was the Tomateros de Culiacan owner Juan Manuel Ley. The Tomateros are to open a new stadium and Manfred was given a full tour of the facility.
Manfred praised the country of Mexico for its passion for the game and intends to develop more positions within Major League Baseball for Spanish speakers. With that he announced the opening of a league office in Mexico City next year.
The commissioner is well aware of the huge business opportunities within the country of Mexico. This is a great plan for the commissioner. He realizes the sport is starting to grow in popularity in the whole world. These first steps set a great foundation for what could be a possible relationship with the country of Mexico. Viva El Mexico and Viva El Juego de Baseball!