Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has told the Associated Press that the league has its eyes set on playing its first ever series across the Atlantic Ocean in London, and that goal is set to happen in 2017.
“We are very interested in playing there, and we’re working hard on that one,” Manfred told the Associated Press. It appears the league is trying to take a page out of the book of the NFL and bring the sport over to Europe in an effort to build more popularity for the sport and introduce it to a more global audience.
When asked when he thinks the game would occur during the season, Manfred wasn’t able to really provide a narrowed down view, only eliminating a season opener as a possibility saying, “I don’t think it will be an opener because of the weather issues. It would be later in the season.”
The League is looking at Olympic Stadium as a potential site for the game, but to this point does not have many specific details to offer as this is still a young hope. The league is also still considering what teams they would want to send, obviously striving for a good series to help stoke as much interest in the sport as possible.
Manfred has brought this initiative up as something being discussed by baseball ownership at the ownership meeting, but the London effort is by no means the only thing that the commissioner and the owners have been discussing.
Manfred and the owners have practically guaranteed that we won’t see a shift in the National League to adopt the designated hitter position, and there are also currently talks to raise the bottom of the strike zone from the spot just below the kneecap, where is has been since 1995, back to the top of the kneecap where it had been before that point.
“I’m not in a position to predict whether it’s going to happen or not,” Manfred said. “I think that the interest in the topic is really driven by the fact that if you look over time, there has been a movement down of the strike zone, largely as a result of the way we evaluate the strike zone with umpires.”
If baseball does decide to raise the strike zone we may see an uptick an offense, after production dropped since the zone moved. Having the zone a little higher can create more opportunities for the hitters to get lift on the ball.