What's on deck as baseball goes global?
March 30, 2000
TOKYO (AP) -- An exhibition game in Havana last year, opening day in Japan this season. So what's next for major league baseball?
Maybe a regular-season series in Venezuela real soon. Possibly a return trip to Cuba. Potentially games in places such as Australia and even Africa farther into the future.
And someday, perhaps a true World Series.
A lot of ideas are in the mix these days as baseball pushes its plan to go global. Certainly the success of the season-opening, two-game set between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets this week will help.
``Win, lose or draw, I think it was something that baseball needed,'' Mets first baseman Todd Zeile said Thursday night.
After getting a good reception in Caracas, there's a slight chance regular-season games could be played in Venezuela next season. Also, there's talk about another exhibition in Cuba, like the one Baltimore played last year.
The upcoming Sydney Olympics have spurred speculation about trying to send two teams to Australia for an exhibition.
Far-fetched? Could be. But watching the Cubs and Mets play in Tokyo has made many believe that baseball is growing far beyond its North American borders.
``I never thought I would've seen this day, opening day in Japan,'' Hall of Famer manager Tommy Lasorda said.
And it could continue to spread internationally. Just don't ask Mark McGwire to make the trip -- spurred by his opposition, the St. Louis Cardinals turned down the tour to Japan and the Cubs accepted.
Commissioner Bud Selig wants to someday see a baseball World Cup.
``The World Cup is something that has been under consideration,'' he said. ``The World Series would be what the word connotes -- the world series.''
updated at Thu Mar 30 11:57:52 2000 PT
Unlike the embarrassment last year with the Cuban team, MLB did a first class job with the Mets & Cubs.