Author: Mike Oz

This home run bounced off two outfielders before going over the fence

This happened to Jose Canseco 24 years ago. (MLB)
This happened to Jose Canseco 24 years ago. (MLB)

Let’s call this one Jose CansecDOS. A pair of minor league outfielders helped turn a fly ball into a home run Sunday in entertainingly goofy fashion.

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It didn’t bounce off their heads like the famous Jose Canseco play (which, coincidently, celebrated its 24th anniversary Friday) but it was still a play that should make quite a few blooper reels.

The ball came off the bat of Alex Jones of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Single-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. The outfield of the Kannapolis Intimidators, who we assure you are a real team, then went into slapstick mode. The ball hit off the glove of center fielder Joel Booker, then bounced off the chest of left fielder Jameson Fisher and over the fence.

Be sure to watch the entire highlight below to get the full effect:

Now here’s something you don’t see everyday. pic.twitter.com/WaD3yxkMSw

— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 29, 2017

Probably the best thing about this is you couldn’t duplicate it again if you tried. Perhaps only if you were making a Rube Goldberg machine for dingers.

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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! Follow @MikeOz

Pitcher uses baseball as weapon during wild minor league brawl

Here’s one you don’t see too often — thankfully. A relief pitcher raced out of the bullpen Sunday night during a minor league brawl, baseball in hand, and threw it a player on the other team.

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It was part of an ugly incident between the Dayton Dragons and West Michigan Whitecaps, a pair of Single-A teams playing in the Midwest League East Division. The Whitecaps are a Tigers affiliate and the Dragons are a Reds affiliate.

West Michigan pitcher Eduardo Jimenez threw the ball at Dragons pitcher Jesse Stallings from about 15 feet away. It hit Stallings in the leg, but obviously could have been more much dangerous had it be thrown somewhere else.

Let’s pause to look closer at what happened. Here’s Jimenez, mid-throw, follow by a surprised reaction from one of the Dragons players:

Whitecaps reliever Eduardo Jimenez mid-throw. (MILB)
Whitecaps reliever Eduardo Jimenez mid-throw. (MILB)
Here's the surprised reaction from one of the Dayton Dragons. (MILB)
Here’s the surprised reaction from one of the Dayton Dragons. (MILB)

Now here’s the whole thing in GIF form:

(MILB)
(MILB)

You might be wondering what started all this. Well, it was another seemingly out-of-bounds moment from the Whitecaps. Jose Siri of the Dragons stole second base and ended up with Whitecaps shortstop Daniel Pinero on top of him. When Pinero got up, he stepped on Siri’s ankle. If you watch from this angle, it looks pretty deliberate.

Siri, as you imagine, took issue and pushed Pinero and that’s when the benches cleared. All of that — while unfortunate — isn’t exactly out of the ordinary for baseball. The actions of Jimenez, however, are 100 percent shocking.

Oddly, he wasn’t ejected from the game, according to reports from the scene. Nonetheless, an MILB.com story says, “[Jimenez’s] actions were captured on video and will undoubtedly be reviewed by league and Minor League Baseball officials.”

Seems like a good bet that Jimenez has a lengthy suspension ahead.

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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! Follow @MikeOz

Alex Rodriguez is turning into the next Michael Strahan

Get ready to see even more of Alex Rodriguez on your television. The ex-MLB slugger, in his first year of retirement, has reportedly lined up yet another TV gig, this time with ABC News. Yes, ABC News. Like he’s Michael Strahan or something.

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According to the New York Post, A-Rod’s deal with ABC will have him appearing on “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight” and “Nightline.” It won’t be too often, about once per month, according to The Post, but A-Rod is already working full-time as an MLB analyst for Fox Sports.

A-Rod ducked out of baseball early last season, agreeing to retire from the New York Yankees while still collecting the rest of the money due on his contract. The Yankees are paying him $21 million this season, in addition to all the TV money he’s making. He’s returned to the tabloid headlines too, thanks to his ongoing relationship with J-Lo.

Alex Rodriguez and new girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. (AP)
Alex Rodriguez and new girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. (AP)

Don’t expect to see A-Rod talking too much baseball on ABC. Instead, this new deal will allow us to see another side of the three-time MVP. From The Post:

Another source close to the star — who is already a full-time MLB analyst for Fox Sports — said, “Alex is interested in doing lifestyle, family-oriented programming, such as a piece on how much your kids should be working out, or business and personal-finance reports, like how to overhaul your bills.” (That might not be a home run with viewers, considering Rodriguez was paid $317 million during his time with the Yankees.)

His MLB commentary would remain exclusive to Fox Sports, meaning he likely couldn’t appear on ESPN, but the insider said, “If there’s a big World Series story to discuss, you could see ­A-Rod on ‘GMA’ talking about the game.”

Hey, remember when people hated A-Rod?

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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! Follow @MikeOz

Tim Tebow makes game-ending catch that's low on style points

Baseball-player-in-training Tim Tebow added to his personal highlight reel Thursday night with a “diving game-ending catch,” as some are putting it. And that sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

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The tying run was at the plate. The ball was hit to Tebow in left field. And he dove and caught it. It sounds like he saved the game. Do I want some of that Tebowmania? Darn right I do. Pump it right into my veins. Let’s all watch together and sing “Hallelujah” afterward.

Wait, what? That was it? Didn’t he just kinda fall down and manage to catch the ball? Good for him, I guess. Final out achieved. But it’s Friday, so I’m gonna need more Tebowmania than that to get me through the weekend.

Hey, look, this isn’t necessarily a knock on Tebow. That catch looks like what happens when you take a football player, give him a baseball glove and say, “hey, play the outfield” — which is what’s going on in his life at the moment.

But this does sum up the Tim Tebow Experience pretty well. It’s a good example of how everything is amplified. Tebow made a catch that any Single-A outfielder should be able to make. (Tumbling aside). And it leads to the team he’s playing against posting it YouTube with the #SCTop10 hashtag hoping to ride the Tebow train onto “SportsCenter.”

Tim Tebow's
Tim Tebow’s “diving” catch: It got the job done. (YouTube)

It generates headlines that any other player wouldn’t get and then people will start to discuss the validity of Tebow’s baseball career once again, something that wouldn’t happen for another Single-A player. It’s a heckuva cycle.

It’s not wrong. It’s not particularly great. It’s just the circus that comes along with Tim Tebow playing baseball. But you gotta give the guy some credit. Even when he falls, he gets back up — and signs autographs after.

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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! Follow @MikeOz

Video: Aaron Judge's next Yankees conquest should be growing a beard

The New York Yankees, as strange as it might sound, are trying to court millennials. With their attendance in decline and revenues down, the Yanks think that giving the under-35 crowd more places to hang in the stadium and boosting their social-media voice might make the team a more alluring ticket in The Big Apple.

Maybe.

The on-field product these days isn’t too bad. While it doesn’t have big-name superstars like A-Rod and Derek Jeter, the rebuilding Yankees are looking surprisingly like a playoff team. Aaron Judge has emerged as the team’s breakout star. His 15 homers are tied for the most in baseball. The Yankees even sectioned off a part of the stadium this week in his honor and called it The Judge’s Chamber. It’s cute. And the Yankees don’t usually do cute.

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At the intersection of these two things is one very important idea: The Yankees’ brand, for the most part, is old and traditional. Their 25-year-old slugger is not. Nor are the other young guys that the Yankees have coming next — especially not outfield prospect Clint Frazier.

Grow a beard, Aaron Judge. You'll be a hero. (AP)
Grow a beard, Aaron Judge. You’ll be a hero. (AP)

If the Yankees want to liven things up, if they want to show millennials they’re not those stodgy, old, boring Yankees their grandpa watches, then here’s an idea: Let Aaron Judge grow a beard. Or grow out his hair. Or wear some sideburn that would make Don Mattingly jealous. It’s the subject of this week’s Open Mike — and I’m 1,000 percent behind it.

The Yankees don’t allow these things. Because their hair policy is silly. If you come to the Yankees with a beard or long hair, you gotta shave that. That’s what happened to Frazier this spring when his long red hair became a “distraction.” Hold up, you can’t be the team that wants to be cooler for millennials while also saying beards and long hair somehow make someone less professional. Well, you can, but they won’t take you seriously.

Likewise, if Judge wants to see how much juice he’s really built up with the Yankees so far, he can take it upon himself to challenge the notion that a beard or long hair somehow makes him less fit to do his job (aka hit big ol’ dingers). Put down the razor, Aaron, and see what grows.

To be honest, I don’t even know if Judge can or wants to grow facial hair. We’ve only ever seen him clean-shaven, even back when he was in college. But Judge could earn so much cred for challenging the Yankees’ dumb policy — in New York, from baseball fans in other cities, on social media, everywhere.

Maybe that’s what it would take to get more millennials out to Yankees game. A 25-year-old hot-shot star openly challenging 40 years of tradition.

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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! Follow @MikeOz

The next David Ross? How we'd cast baseball players in reality TV shows

David Ross not only surprised everyone with his second-place finish on ABC’s hit “Dancing with the Stars,” he might have also opened up a new lane for future baseball players. He went on a big-time reality TV show and became a fan favorite. Usually, it’s football players that do that.

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Elsewhere this week, we learned that “Diesel Brothers,” the tricked-out truck show on Discovery Channel, filmed a couple of episodes with Detroit Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera and MLB Network analysts Pedro Martinez and Carlos Pena. (They’ll air June 19 and 22).

It was all enough to make us wonder: What baseball players, past or present, should be on reality TV shows? The Stew’s crew chimed in below with our picks. We think you should do the same in the comments.

Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus on
Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus on “The Amazing Race?” We’d watch. (AP)

Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus on “The Amazing Race”
While I think it would be fun to see baseball players compete on “Project Runway,” what I’d most love to see is Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre on “The Amazing Race.” We’d get ridiculous visuals like Elvis and Adrain rolling haystacks or running in moon shoes or making chocolate in a German town. They’d be running through landmarks and doing zany tasks, and Elvis Andrus would get to touch Adrian Beltre’s head on at least three different continents.

In fact, there should be a whole baseball player season. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa can be a team, and so can Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, and Clayton Kershaw and A.J. Ellis. The possibilities are endless. (Liz Roscher)

Every player in the minors on “Top Chef”
Minor-league players are notorious for their awful eating habits. Ask any minor leaguer what their favorite restaurant is, and roughly 90 percent will say Chipotle. There’s even a Tumblr dedicated to minor-league players mentioning the chain. Now look, we’re not here to judge. Chipotle is tasty, and it’s not like minor-league players have many options. Their salaries are so depressed that Chipotle is one of the few places they can get a delicious and filling meal.

For that reason, we would love nothing more than to see a bunch of minor-league players duke it out on “Top Chef.” High comedy would ensue the first few weeks, as we’re guessing we would see a lot of ramen soup cups and mac and cheese. While we know many minor leaguers are familiar with burritos, we have a hard time thinking they could accurately re-create one. We can only imagine Tom Colicchio’s comments after he’s served a reheated Lean Cuisine.

If we’re going to be optimistic, though, perhaps these players could learn something by being on the show. Their food might be laughable and simple at first, but by the finale, it’s possible they would be cooking legitimate meals. There’s a feel-good story to here too. A hopeless player could transform himself into a kitchen casanova. They could learn about nutrition and take active steps to improve their lifestyle. We would watch that.

One caveat, though, Chicago White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito can’t compete. The 22-year-old has already shown a mastery of baked goods, and we don’t want anyone to have an unfair advantage. He’ll have to take his talents to “The Great British Baking Show.”

Bryce Harper and his hair should be on
Bryce Harper and his hair should be on “The Bachelor.” (AP)

Bryce Harper on “The Bachelor”
We’re going to have to suspend reality for a second on this one. Bryce Harper is recently married, but since none of these reality-TV ideas are actually going to happen, I’m totally fine with saying Harper should be on “The Bachelor.” Anybody gonna tell me they don’t want to see women trying to woo Bryce? We’d see them running their fingers through his hair, participating in baseball-themed challenges and having to kiss up to BFF Jayson Werth?

Actually, you know what? We can actually skip the romance part of this. Take the women out the equation and just do a “Bachelor”-style courting of Harper for his upcoming free agency. Turn the whole thing into a reality show. We’re sure Mrs. Harper would appreciate that too. (Mike Oz)

Curt Schilling on “Big Brother”
Getting through one Curt Schilling tweet can be a painful enough experience. Now imagine having to share living space with him for up to three months.

That’s the concept behind CBS’ long-running reality/competition show “Big Brother.” There’s no connection to the outside world. You only see, interact with and compete against those with whom you’re sharing the house, with the goal of avoiding the weekly eviction. The producers build the show around big personalities with clashing viewpoints and lifestyles. That always makes for a combustible dynamic, and I can’t imagine there’s a baseball player, past or present, who could bring more awkwardness and combustibility than Schilling.

Chances are Schilling wouldn’t last the whole three months. He’d probably rub enough people the wrong way right away that he’d be a lock to leave early. But if you relish chaos or just want to see Schilling taken to task and highly uncomfortable in a public forum, we’re sure there would be plenty of that happening for as long as he survived. (Mark Townsend)

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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! Follow @MikeOz

Braves security guard takes ball from young child, but team makes it right

The Atlanta Braves security guards might take their jobs a little too seriously. Especially the one patrolling the right-field line Wednesday night at Atlanta’s new SunTrust Field.

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When Rio Ruiz hit a fair ball down the line that went toward the stands, a fan picked it up. Now let’s be clear, the fan made a mistake, but what happened afterward was worse. The fan then took the ball and handed it to a young boy who was sitting with him. Wasting no time, a security guard came to the scene and ejected the fan for interfering with a live ball. That’s fair, because those are the rules. But then the security guard took the ball away from the kid, which, come on man.

Here’s the entire moment:

here’s better quality.. and an update: Braves announcers said the team was giving the kid a signed baseball.. pic.twitter.com/VrwxUIkStT

— Lionel Bienvenu (@lionelbienvenu) May 25, 2017

A Braves security guard takes a ball from a kid at Wednesday night's game. (MLB.tv)
A Braves security guard takes a ball from a kid at Wednesday night’s game. (MLB.tv)

If that whole thing bummed you out, you aren’t alone. The TV broadcasters immediately said, “have some common sense there, fella.” It seems obvious. It’s not like they have just one ball with which to play the game. That ball was probably going to join the others that the Braves would authenticate and sell for a few extra bucks in the team store. Is that worth hurting a young fan’s feelings and getting unfortunate headlines across the internet?

The Braves knew better and decided to make it right. According to ESPN, the Braves gave the young boy a baseball autographed by star first baseman Freddie Freeman and tickets to another game next month. That seems like a good way to defuse an unfortunate situation.

It should be noted, this isn’t the first time a Braves security guard got a little too aggressive for the situation. Look at what happened last year when a fan fell onto the field trying to get a foul ball.

@Braves security guard needs to chill out. Clearly was an accident. pic.twitter.com/0C68n03Ut6

— Tyler Wise (@TWise715) June 11, 2016

It’s just baseball, guys. You’re not in the Secret Service.

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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! Follow @MikeOz

The Yankees are courting millennials as their attendance continues to decline

You might look at the standings and the box scores and think everything is going much better than expected in the Bronx this year. The New York Yankees — in the middle of a rare rebuild — have started the season looking like a playoff contender.

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They’re currently leading the AL East. Aaron Judge, their massive slugger, has been one of the season’s breakout stars. Even the Yankees’ pitching, a question mark entering the season, has been better than advertised, ranking seventh in MLB. But there’s one area where the Yankees aren’t winning this season and it might surprise you.

At the box office.

According to a New York Times story published Thursday, the Yankees’ ticket sales and revenues associated with them are both down yet again, proof that while Aaron Judge and the young Yankees are surprising some people in baseball, they aren’t yet trending high enough to attract fickle New Yorkers who have entertainment options aplenty. That’s long been an issue in New York. It’s part of the reason the Yankees have felt the pressure to pay more for marquee names in the past — even marquee names past their prime.

This year’s Yankees team is noticeably different. CC Sabathia is still around, but Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez both retired last year, turning over the reigns to Judge, Gary Sanchez Didi Gregorius and eventually Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier. Those names don’t quite resonate in New York City like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, though, which is why the Yankees’ struggles at the box office aren’t exactly surprising.

The Yankees installed
The Yankees installed “The Judges’ Chamber” this week, a new section of seating for Aaron Judge fans. (AP)

Still, early success be damned, the Yankees are behind even last year’s ticket sales and revenues, which were down by $46 million. The Times reports that the Yankees were down another $14 million in the first quarter of 2017 and their per-game attendance has declined about 3,800 over the same amount of games last season. The Yankees were 22-22 in their first 44 games in 2016 as opposed to 27-17 this season.

What have the Yankees done to combat this attendance decline? They’ve begun courting millennials, writes Billy Witz of the Times:

Marty Greenspun, senior vice president for strategic ventures, visited every other major league ballpark, conducted surveys of 5,000 Yankee fans and, with several outside consultants, examined ways the club could make the stadium more convivial for young adult fans.

“When there’s a trend going south, you look at it,” Levine said. “Like a doctor, if somebody’s hurt, you look at it and try and diagnose it and fix it.”

What the Yankees found out was that younger fans were more likely to buy tickets at the last moment — as they would for a play or a concert — and attend with a group of friends. They also preferred not to spend the entire game tethered to their seats. And they wanted a good deal. So after more than a year of planning, the Yankees rolled out a series of changes.

They removed 2,100 obstructed-view seats in center field over the winter, and created plazas — the kind of gathering spots in the outfield that have become popular at other ballparks. They have also made more than 200,000 tickets available for $15 or less, including the Pinstripe Pass, which comes with a drink (soda, water or beer) and park entry, but without a seat. They hired a new social media director to help better connect with young fans.

The Yankees' attendance is down about 3,800 per game from last season. (AP)
The Yankees’ attendance is down about 3,800 per game from last season. (AP)

These are things that other ballclubs are doing too. It’s why you’re seeing the rise of things like ballpark passes, expanded craft beer selections and crazy stadium foods. But it’s definitely more eye opening when the Yankees are doing it.

Because make no mistake, the Yankees are about the least millennial, least trendy team in baseball. The Yankees scream tradition — from their pinstripe jerseys with no names on the back to their cap logo that’s been the same since 1949. What sells with the Yankees is history.

That’s not a knock. You’d sell history, too, if you had 27 World Series wins and Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and Roger Maris among your retired numbers.

All of this is actually a reminder: Not even the Yankees are immune to trends and market dips. They’re trying to figure out how to get millennials engaged in their product, just like so many other businesses out there.

And what we’ve learned in 2017 is that, in New York, it takes more than a surprise first-place team and massive Aaron Judge home runs.

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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! Follow @MikeOz

Opening 25-year-old baseball cards with A.J. Ellis

If you remember nothing else this week, remember this: backup catchers are some of the most likable dudes in baseball. Just look at David Ross, capturing the hearts of America on “Dancing With the Stars.” And look at this week’s episode of 25-Year-Old Baseball Cards featuring charismatic Miami Marlins catcher A.J. Ellis.

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Ellis is playing his first year in Miami after spending nine with the Los Angeles Dodgers and half of 2016 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Those Dodgers ties are evident in this episode, as Ellis tears into a pack of 1992 Topps and finds a couple of his former coaches — one of whom hit quite a few homers in the very stadium where we filmed this episode.

As luck would have it, Ellis also finds one of his agents, ex-big leaguer Keith Miller, who played for the Mets and Royals from 1987-1995, and is now part of the ACES Baseball Agency.

Marlins catcher A.J. Ellis checking out some 1992 Topps. (Yahoo Sports)
Marlins catcher A.J. Ellis checking out some 1992 Topps. (Yahoo Sports)

If you’re new to this series, we open baseball cards from 25 years ago with current players, managers, coaches and famous baseball fans. It all started with cards my grandma bought when I was a kid, thinking they’d be worth a bunch of money years later. They’re not. Like not even a little bit. So instead, I figured it would be fun to open the cards with baseball people and wax nostalgic.

If you dig this, be sure to check out some of our previous episodes below:

PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES:
Noah Syndergaard
• 
Delino DeShields
• 
Sandy Alomar Jr.
Hank Azaria
• 
Bronson Arroyo
Terry Francona
Brad Mills
• Kyle Hendricks
• 
Eric Davis
Joe Maddon
Todd Coffey
Cliff Floyd
• Clint Hurdle
Dan Plesac
Dusty Baker
Bruce Bochy
Aaron Boone
• Clayton Kershaw
Buck Showalter
Frank Thomas
• Alex Rodriguez
• Scott Boras
• Bobby Bonilla

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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! Follow @MikeOz

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)
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 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! Follow @MikeOz