MLB Opening Day Overseas, the WBC and Maintaining Fair Play

The MLB is returning to the idea of opening the baseball season overseas this year with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks playing in Australia soon (March 22-23). Australia has a baseball market that is starting to grow with a new fall league from the last few seasons, new MLB stars, and better WBC performance, so the MLB playing there sounds good.

But there are problems with overseas play. It prevents all teams to start off an even footing. It ruins that idea of everyone starting on the same weekend. One team loses two home games.

There are two paths to a solution here. First is the MLB doesn’t do this anymore, which doesn’t seems likely.

The second, is EVERY team does this. Whether it is for Opening Day, the back end of the All-Star Weekend, or for Spring Training, every team does it. Here’s the proposed program:

  1. Two teams commit to a country for two seasons. They are interleague teams that are not rivals.
  2. One team is home for the first two games in the first year. The other team is the home team for the two games the following year. The team that was the home team has only 79 games played in their city that year but is guaranteed to have the US Opening Day spot.
  3. Alternatively, the teams alternate being home, everyone plays 80 US Games
  4. Games are played in 2015 and 2016 in countries that are trying to qualify for the WBC, which has qualifiers towards the end of 2016.
  5. This practice is suspended for the 2017 WBC. Occurs in 2018 and 2019. Suspended in 2020 for an expanded WBC qualifier, then the 2021 WBC. Process continues.

The downside this it makes the start of the year very disjointed. Even though this is my idea, I don’t really like it. However if we are going to continue this process, we should try to make it more fair.

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