Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig is quite pleased with the reception received by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers for their Opening Series in Australia.
Presumably nearing the end of his tenure as commissioner, Selig said that he sees this series as one of a number of steps to continue to grow MLB internationally. From MLB.com:
We’ve done great domestically…Baseball’s never been as popular as it is in the United States and other places, but the growth in the next decade-plus is going to be international, and that’s why these trips are so important. And they’re exciting. They’re real exciting. We need to continue to play games in a lot of different places. … I say if we do this right, you won’t recognize how big and good this sport is in 10 or 15 years. “
That sounds fine, but in 2014 the world can feel like a small place. A high speed internet connection or a satellite TV can make the gaps between countries and continents feel a whole lot smaller. That said, there is still something about the experience of a sporting event in person that resonates differently. Citing the crowds at the World Baseball Classic, Selig says that is the excitement he wants to tap into:
I’ve been to seventh games of the World Series where there wasn’t as much emotion in the ballpark. And I thought to myself that night, ‘Imagine what this can be on a global level if we do this right?’ So we need to continue to do this, and we need to step up the pace.”
Even if they aren’t the most popular among the players or fans, it sounds like we can expect more events like these games in Australia moving forward.