MLB could be close to playing regular-season games in Mexico

Rob Manfred speaking in Houston this week, said he'd like MLB to play more in Mexico. (AP)

It’s no secret that Major League Baseball has taken big steps to grow the game globally in recent years. That includes the 2014 Japan Series, an exhibition game in Cuba in 2016 and, of course, the World Baseball Classic. Next, MLB’s thirst to stretch itself globally could mean that we see regular-season games played in Mexico.

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Commissioner Rob Manfred said on Tuesday, while speaking in Houston, that the league has its eye on Mexico. Not just for exhibition games, which we’ve seen in the past, but regular-season games and maybe even franchise expansion. Per MLB.com:

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

MLB’s players and owners agreed on international regular-season play in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Presumably, those games could be scheduled as early as 2018.

“We’re hopeful that what we see in Mexico will continue to encourage us that that’s a possibility [for expansion],” Manfred said. “We also had a good experience with the [World Baseball Classic] in Mexico. The venue was a good one. It sold well. We had good crowds — another positive in terms of more Major League-level baseball in Mexico.”

Now, one thing we know about Manfred is that he’s always open to new ideas. He’s the type of guy who usually will say something is possible, even if it’s not likely. Remember when he talked about banning infield shifts? Or considered Pete Rose for reinstatement?

In short: Just because Manfred is talking about something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

In this case, seeing regular-season games in Mexico seems like a logical fit — considering the aforementioned history with the WBC, the new CBA and how close Mexico is — but expansion? Well, let’s also remember that Manfred said recently that’s open to having a team in Las Vegas.

No word on whether playing more MLB games in Mexico would require more walls to be built and, if so, who would pay for them. We mean outfield walls, of course.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!