Major League Baseball is eager to expand its international footprint, but in addition to playing abroad, where else in the United States could MLB feature its next showcase games?
Following MLB's first-ever trip to Europe last summer and several stops in Latin America in recent years, it's clear MLB is striving to reach more fans across the globe than ever before.
Sports Illustrated's MLB staff was presented with an intriguing question on Wednesday, asking where baseball should go next?
From an annual series in the Dominican Republic to a contest on the Giza Plateau in Egypt, with the ancient pyramids overlooking the field, SI MLB's staff came up with some creative ideas. Check them out right here.
Another option, however, is to build upon the fact that MLB has played regular season games in Omaha, Neb. to spotlight the College World Series and was planning to host a game in Dyersville, Iowa this season on the Field of Dreams Movie Site. The common denominator between those two locations is there are no MLB teams situated in those states.
For the Field of Dreams game – still on schedule to take place this August despite the COVID-19 pandemic – it's set to be the first MLB game ever played in the state of Iowa.
With that said, why not devote one series each year to a game or two in a brand new domestic location?
Sure, building a new venue in different cities across the nation is a massive undertaking, but while the league is guaranteed to continue to expand abroad, this could be baseball's ticket to increasing fandom domestically in places the game typically doesn't reach.
Besides, rather than building a brand new stadium, MLB can always use preexisting venues – as was the case in the London Series as well as Williamsport, Pa, honoring the Little League World Series.
Imagine this. Aaron Judge and a high-powered Yankees lineup attempting to hit splash down home runs into the Pacific Ocean off the shore of an island in Hawaii. What about Jacob deGrom twirling a gem on the mound with Mount Rushmore overlooking the venue in the distance.
Interested? Thought so. Here's how it would work.
Each year, similar to the All-Star Game, a state that doesn't have an MLB team is awarded the annual series and constructs a small ballpark to host the event.
Similar to the game at the Field of Dreams site in Iowa, a local club (in this case the Chicago White Sox) will serve as the home team while a bigger market club (the Yankees) are escorted in as the road team.
That way, for fans who reside in said location, they get a taste of one of the league's historic franchises – which would, of course, spark more excitement – while simultaneously feasting their eyes on a team that plays traditionally not too far away. Moving forward, perhaps those fans will make the trip to the home team's actual ballpark and keep tabs on how the club fares in the future.
In addition to Hawaii and South Dakota, picture a game in Alaska during the summer, a contest within Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, or playing ball down in New Orleans. What about Las Vegas, Portland or Nashville?
Will every state be interested in something like this? Perhaps not. Will it happen? It's certainly unlikely. Nonetheless, it's fun to think about and could be a great way to grow America's pastime even bigger across the United States.
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