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Expand The Audience?: What The MLB Can Learn From Their Neutral Site Games

The MLB has made progress in trying to expand its reach across the world.

From games across other countries to playing in baseball-rich towns such as Birmingham, AL (Rickwood Field Game, A Tribute to the Negro Leagues) or Williamsport, VA (Little League Classic), the league has tried to make a push to cater to new audiences.

Throughout all this, it begs the question of what other events or games could be played to boost the league’s reach to a greater community.

This season alone, the MLB was scheduled to hold six neutral-site contests, pitting some of the best the league has to offer.

Of the six World Tour games (what the league has dubbed them now), four of them are played outside the US (Dominican Republic Series (Spring Training), Korea Opening Series, Mexico Series, and London Series).

The other two are in integral US baseball towns that help honor the legacy and tradition of their respective histories in the form of the Rickwood Field Classic and the Little League Classic.

Over the years, MLB has been able to test the waters on unique events, with the Field of Dreams Game in Dyersville, Iowa, setting the standard.

With MLB’s resources and backing, the possibilities of playing games on neutral sites are endless, and there are many ways that the league can bring the game to places that have never been seen before.

So, with that, we compiled a list of ideal games that should be featured on the MLB’s neutral site calendar.

Keep Them

Among the games that should stay, these are the headliners.

For starters, the Little League Classic has been a staple on the MLB calendar since 2017, and it gives the league a chance to allow the top stars in the game to connect with the young crop of little league talent.

The MLB Game at Rickwood Field was a success, and given the inclusion of Negro League stats into the MLB’s database, honoring the history and legacy of the Negro Leagues should be a priority, especially with teams that have ties.

In terms of events outside the US, the MLB has created a way to have a game on three different continents, featuring a game in Asia, Europe, and North America.

It would be nice to see a mix of Asian countries get to host an MLB series a season, maybe in a rotation between Tokyo, Korea, and China.

The London Series has become a major staple of the calendar, and it would be hard to shy away from the success of that, while the series played in the Caribbean could feature a rotation of Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.

Mexico City has also played a great host to MLB games and should be featured in some capacity.

Obviously, if you look at the ones they keep, it is all the games that are currently on the rotation of the MLB schedule, but given their success, it would be hard to go away from them.

MLB doesn’t have to put every game on the schedule, but if you can put five or six games on the calendar, that may be a plus.

New Events

While the games that the MLB has now are sufficient, it would be great to see the MLB return neutral-site games that were once in tact or bring in new events.

Two that come to mind are the MLB Fort Bragg Game and the MLB Omaha Game.

The Fort Bragg Game, which was played in 2016 and featured the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins, was played on July 4th weekend and was a neat way to honor our military on a base.

The logistics of having a game such as this can be challenging. However, it is not improbable to host a military-focused game, especially around Armed Forces Weekend.

The MLB at Omaha game was also a neat concept that truly deserves a second chance given Omaha’s rich baseball history with the NCAA College World Series.

Other ideas that the MLB can do could be an MLB Hall of Fame Game at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY or potentially a game up in Montreal that features the Blue Jays every season, something that the Jays have done at the end of the Spring.

Proposed Idea (Hypothetical Matchups Based on History/Tie-Ins/Location) :

  • MLB Game at Rickwood Field: Pirates vs. Tigers
  • MLB Little League Classic: Orioles vs. Reds
  • MLB London Series: Dodgers vs. Yankees
  • MLB Carribean Series (Puerto Rico, Domincana or Venezuela): Astros vs. Marlins
  • MLB Asia Series (Korea, China or Japan): Mariners vs. Cardinals
  • MLB Mexico Series: Giants vs. D-Backs
  • MLB Armed Forces Game: Rangers vs. Padres
  • MLB at Omaha Game: Twins vs. Royals
  • MLB Hall of Fame Game: Rangers vs. Twins
  • MLB Montreal Series (Série MLB Montréal): Tigers vs. Blue Jays

Dylan was born in Tampa, FL, and is the Founder of The FLow Show, a podcast that covers all things baseball in FL. He also is a current Play-By-Play Announcer for PHSC Baseball and works for the Toronto/Dunedin Blue Jays as a Scoreboard and Music Operator for the team. His favorite teams he roots for are the Blue Jays, Phillies, and Rays and his favorite player is Vladmir Gurrero Jr.

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