Going Global: MLB Announces Five-Year International Tour
One neat tidbit that came out after the whirlwind of CBA news dealt with an overseas tour MLB has planned. Much like the NBA and NFL, MLB plans to reach out internationally and play in a multitude of countries. Several of which have deep roots in baseball.
LIST OF COUNTRIES AND REGIONS
- Puerto Rico
- Dominican Republic
According to Tim Healey of News Day Sports, these tours are supposed to be over the course of the next five years. Going international gives some players to play in their home country, experience new cultures, gain an international fan base, and maybe gain some traction in overall popularity.
Obviously, the two places that stick out the most are London and Paris. England has 31 major league players and seven hailing from France, so there isn’t a huge connection. With there being a lack of talent coming from both countries, this gives MLB a chance to broaden its scope and tap into a market that is relatively unknown to the baseball community.
On the other hand, Mexico and the Dominican Republic are among the most-common countries of birth outside the United States.
The Yankees and Red Sox played two games in London in 2019, and games have been played in Mexico in 1996, 1999, 2018 and 2019.
Puerto Rico, while not an international destination, has long held a special place in the heart of baseball due to the contributions of former Pirates outfielder and humanitarian Roberto Clemente. The Pirates had been scheduled to play in Puerto Rico in 2016, but the games were canceled due to the Zika virus outbreak.
The Montreal Expos played 43 games in San Juan in 2003 and 2004 before moving to Washington. Other games were played there in 2001, 2010 and 2018.
MLB has also held regular-season games in Australia and Japan in the past.
The Pirates have never played an international game.