With First Regular-Season Games In Mexico In 19 Years, Is MLB Closer To Expansion?
Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 01:24PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, MLB, Mexico, San Diego Padres

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November 13, 2017: Next year, for the first time in nearly 20 years, MLB will play a series during the regular season in Mexico, when the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers play the San Diego Padres in Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey,

The three-game series is scheduled for May 4-6, 2018.

The series will be considered home games for the Padres home games.

The games come as MLB is in the early stages of considering expansion outside the U.S., with top potential candidates being a return to Montreal — which would again join Toronto with teams in Canada — and Mexico City.

The Dodgers-Padres three-game set will be the third regular season series to be played in Monterrey and the third for the Padres, but the first since the Padres and the Colorado Rockies played there Opening Day on April 4, 1999.

The Padres also played a three-game series against the New York Mets in Estadio de Béisbol Aug.16-18, 1996.

"As a team with a bi-national fan base and reach that extends into Baja California and throughout Mexico, we are excited to once again play regular season games in Monterrey and help grow the popularity of our great game," Erik Greupner, Padres COO, said in a statement. "Baseball fans in Mexico are passionate about the game and we look forward to deepening our connection with them."

MLB teams most recently visited Mexico in March 2016, when the Padres and Houston Astros played two exhibition games in Fray Nano in Mexico City.

"Baseball fans in Mexico are passionate about the game and we look forward to deepening our connection with them."

A qualifier round for the 2017 World Baseball Classic was played in Mexicali, Mexico in March 2016.

Jalisco, Mexico was the site for Pool D of the WBC this past March.

In 2016, MLB established MLB Mexico headquarters in Mexico City, the sixth MLB office outside the U.S. (Beijing, London, Santo Domingo, Sydney, Tokyo).

"Commissioner Manfred's vision for globalizing baseball cannot become a reality without localizing MLB in Mexico," Chris Park, svp-growth, strategy and international for MLB, said at the time. "Our local fans and partners are part of our core community,

During his State of MLB media conference during All-Star Week in Miami this past summer, Manfred included Mexico City on a short list of potential MLB expansion sites.

“I think we have some great candidates,” said Manfred. “I know the mayor of Montreal has been very vocal about bringing baseball back to Montreal. It was not great when the Expos left. The fact of the matter was baseball was successful in Montreal for a very long time. Charlotte is a possibility.

“And I would like to think that Mexico City or some place in Mexico would be another possibility,” said Manfred.

MLB last added teams in 1998 in Tampa Bay and Arizona.

In another series off the continental U.S., the Minnesota Twins will play a two-game series against the Cleveland Indians in Hiram Bighorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico, scheduled for April 17-18, 2018.

The Dodgers last participated in an international event in the 2014 Opening Series in Sydney, Australia, where they played two games against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

According to Stan Kasten, Dodgers president and CEO, “The Dodgers are excited and extremely proud to be returning to Mexico as a team for the fourth time in our history. ”These games will also mark the first time that the Dodgers are playing regular season contests in Mexico, something long overdue, given our rich player history and strong community ties to the country.

"The Dodgers have always been at the forefront of growing the game of baseball internationally and this trip reinforces this commitment, while at the same time giving our many fans in Mexico a chance to see us compete."

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