The A’s could be headed to Mexico City in spring 2019 to play multiple exhibitions as part of Major League Baseball’s efforts to expand its international audience.
Oakland was in discussions to play in Mexico City this upcoming spring, according to A’s traveling secretary Mickey Morabito, but that idea was scratched because a new ballpark being built there is not quite ready yet. The A’s remain in play for two exhibitions in Mexico City in 2019 against a yet-to-be-determined opponent if the plans come to fruition.
The A’s most likely would send a split squad south of the border and leave another group in Arizona to continue Cactus League play, which is what they did in 2015 when they played exhibitions in Las Vegas.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned Mexico City, Charlotte and Montreal as strong contenders for an expansion franchise while addressing the issue during last season’s All-Star Game festivities. Mexico City, the largest city in North America based on population, currently is home to the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League.
The A’s always ask to be considered for international play, and their 2019 schedule may include quite the globe-trotting itinerary. In addition to potential exhibitions in Mexico, NBC Sports California confirmed that Oakland also is being considered for a return trip to Japan to open the ’19 regular season, as reported recently by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Oakland began the 2008 season with two games against the Boston Red Sox at the Tokyo Dome and returned there in 2012 for an opening series against the Seattle Mariners. A’s officials gave positive reviews on both experiences, and the team’s payout for games in Japan surely would be more than the gate for two games at the Coliseum.
The Los Angeles Angels, who signed Japanese star Shohei Ohtani this winter, would be a natural choice as one of the teams to play in Japan. The Red Sox and New York Yankees are considered leading candidates for a planned series in London later in the 2019 season.
The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins will play a two-game series in April of this upcoming season in San Juan, Puerto Rico.