Monday, February 22, 2010

This is the first step

I think MLB is missing a huge opportunity in not playing some games in Europe. Whether Bud gets it or not, baseball is doing okay here. Obviously, it's not as popular as other sports, but it is popular in many countries in Europe, with viable leagues in most of the countries.

The NFL and NBA have figured it out, and play games in Europe every year. There is even somewhat, semi-legitimate talk of expanding here. It might not happen immediately, but I think it will happen, and within 10 years.

MLB playing a regular season series over here would be very popular and give a boost to the programs over here. However, one of the problems with this has been the lack of a major league quality stadium. Unfortunately, soccer, rugby and cricket stadiums can't really be converted into baseball fields. The layout just doesn't match up. And the few actual baseball stadiums here just don't meet MLB standards.

However, that might be about to change:

Mayor Gianni Alemanno announced plans Sunday to donate a parcel of land for a new, baseball-specific stadium that can host international events. It will be built in Tor Vergata, an area south of the city where there's a campus for the University of Rome.
This is great news. Italy has a long and storied history with major league baseball, and it's very appropriate that the stadium would be built in Rome.

Mayor Alemanno understand why this is important:

"Rome doesn't have a baseball stadium that can host international events and as a mayor, I felt I had to fill this deficiency," Alemanno said in a statement issued following an executive meeting of the International Baseball Federation.
With a stadium available, Bud doesn't have his main reason to keep games from being played over here.

And it will give other countries or cities the incentive to build stadiums in order to attract future series, and will provide an infrastructure for a future European league.

I hope this happens. It can only be good for baseball over here.

No comments: