MILB President Thinks MLB Expansion ‘Will Happen’ But Not ‘Imminent’

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Major League Baseball currently has 30 teams, but might it be looking to add a couple more?

As with most United States professional sports leagues, the answer likely is yes. However, you probably shouldn’t expect to see a 31st and 32nd MLB franchise anytime soon.

Most people point to financial and logistical hurdles for the MLB as the primary factors in why expansion is so difficult. But there’s another major factor that often gets overlooked: Minor League Baseball. In many ways, MLB expansion presents an even bigger burden for the MILB.

“The problem is, if you start looking at sites, you create a brushfire that you lose control of,” MILB president Pat O’Connor recently told Baseball America’s Josh Norris. “I am not as confident as (Baseball America writer Tracy Ringolsby) that it’s imminent. The thing that we talk about is the reality of — depending on where they expand, and if history is going to be our guide, and history being that the two clubs will have five or six teams each — I need anywhere from 10 to 14 teams.

“If the expansion is in two of our markets, not only do I have replace them, I’ve got to give each team five or six affiliates. And I’ve got to tell you, I don’t have 12 cities. I don’t have 12 cities on a list that I can, in my wildest dreams, make up.”

But does O’Connor think MLB eventually will expand?

“I do think it will happen,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s imminent. I’m not convinced that, from a big league perspectives, it’s not going to involve some international (sites) based on where the commissioner wants the game to go. That would mitigate some of our concern about the number of cities we need.”

So, might MLB be considering putting another team in Canada? Or, more interestingly, could we someday see teams in Mexico or Puerto Rico?

Only time will tell — but we might have to wait a while for those answers.

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