MLB Week in Review (April 15-21)

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The MLB has been a league that has a tough time moving forward as they take their time with every decision they make.

At least that was the way the league operated under the watch of Bud Selig.

It is a new era in the MLB and an era where the league has never been healthier as more teams are in a stable position while the last player strike was two decades ago.

When Robert Manfred took over for Selig last year the league was never in a better place and so far Manfred hasn’t been challenged to make any major decisions.

He went through the first year handing out suspensions and generally operating the league as usual.

He had one major decision in some rule changes which continue to be a source of debate but for the most part he hasn’t seen a major challenge.

That is all about to change though as this year he will begin seeing more and more questions arise regarding some major decisions he will need to make.

One of the biggest ones will be the fact that the CBA is up at the end of the year and his ability to negotiate a new deal amid rising revenue will be watched closely.

Another major question has come thanks to himself as this week he announced that the league will be looking into expansion.

It seems like every major North American league is looking to change where they operate and are taking different paths.

The NFL finally got their team in Los Angeles and another is not out of the question while they continue to look into the potential of expanding beyond the borders of the USA.

The NHL is currently making their decision on expansion with both Las Vegas and Quebec City in the running for new teams.

The MLB was a league that nobody thought of as needed to expand or having a few markets in real need of a baseball team.

There were still the demands coming from certain markets but as a whole the MLB rarely talked about needed more teams.

That was until this week when Manfred mentioned that MLB expansion is inevitable as two more teams will be added to the MLB at some point.

He didn’t give a timetable for the expansion and has admitted that there need to be some key issues resolved first.

Those issues being the stadiums in Tampa Bay and Oakland that desperately need to be upgraded.

Manfred hinted that if they aren’t upgraded or is they can’t get new stadiums relocation could be an option.baseball-sidebar

As for expansion, it is not like the NHL who are currently making their decision after announcing that they were expanding last year.

Manfred has not said when the expansion would happen, only that it is going to happen at some point.

He has now opened up the questions until an announcement is made as everyone now wants to know when and where the league will go.

Manfred did let one hint go about expansion though in that he stated that he can see expanse reach beyond the USA.

In other words, the biggest demand for expansion could be coming true as Montreal has been attempting to show the MLB that they deserve a team for years.

The Montreal Expos were a victim of the crashing Canadian dollar and the 1995 MLB strike that stopped the momentum that could have kept them around for years.

Instead, they folded and moved to Washington but recently the interest has climbed as the Toronto Blue Jays have brought baseball to the forefront of Canadian sports.

The Jays have done even more direct work holding two spring training games in Montreal for the last three years with big crowds at Olympic Stadium.

The league and the city have met multiple times regarding putting a team back in the city and to many it seemed inevitable that the Expos were going to return.

This announcement from Manfred is likely the first step in Montreal getting another team whether it be from expansion or from relocation.

As long as Montreal can produce a new stadium, not a refurbished Olympic Stadium, they seem to have the inside track on earning another team.

Manfred has not had to deal with any major issues yet in his time as the Commissioner of baseball but it is all about to change.

He is set to put his stamp on the league both this year and in the near future with major decisions and issues beginning to take over.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

Just Getting Started
Bryce Harper was lauded as one of the greatest prospects in the history of baseball and despite some stumbles, he is starting to show why he got that moniker becoming the youngest to hit 100 home runs as he seems to be just hitting his stride

Schilling Fired Again
Kurt Schilling has had his fair share of controversy and has been fired from announcing jobs for it before and he hasn’t changed as a transphobic social media post lost him his spot at ESPN and he since has not backed down from his post

Fastest Record Throw
Pitching has become a game of velocity with teams wanted faster and harder throwers but arms are not only important on the mound and Aaron Hicks proved that when he gunned down Danny Valencia at home from left field with a 105-mph throw, the fastest in MLB history

A Perfect Apology
Knuckleballers are notoriously wild and Steven Wright proved it when he hit Chris Colabello in the head during a series between Boston and Toronto but he recovered from the wild pitch after sending Colabello a bottle of alcohol to apologise

standings-w3.fw

Key Series:
Los Angeles Dodgers 2 – 1 San Francisco Giants
– This season series will likely determine the division winner and every win is important even this early which is not great news for the Giants who took two losses in this weekend series and fell in the standings

Seattle Mariners 2 – 1 New York Yankees
– The Mariners took a trip across the continent to New York where Robinson Cano looked to guide his team against the team he grew up with and he did just that helping the Mariners to two wins in the three-game series

Chicago Cubs 2 – 1 St. Louis Cardinals
– The Cubs need to beat the cards this year if they want a hope of making the World Series and they took care of business against the league’s gold standard taking two games in the series and moving to the top of the division

Texas Rangers 3 – 0 Houston Astros
– The Battle of Texas has become much more important over the last few years since the Astros were moved to the AL and now it seems to be ready to determine a division title with the Rangers taking a big three-game sweep

Upcoming Series:
Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros [April 22-24]
– The Red Sox will make a trip to Houston where they will try to quiet the Astro offence as they continue to battle in the East while the Astros look to get back on track after dropping three straight to their in-state rivals

Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels [April 22-24]
– It will be a coastal battle as both teams try to climb to the top of the western division as the Angels look to get out of the funk they entered this past week that dropped them from the top of the division

New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers [April 25-27]
– The Yankees started the season well enough but have started to drop and they will look to try to get back on track in the extremely competitive east division when they take on the west leading Rangers

Miami Marlins vs. Los Angeles Dodgers [April 25-28]
– The Dodgers are trying to open a bigger lead in their divisional race as they try to take control early as they face the Marlins who have the talent to compete but aren’t doing so right now as they sit near the bottom of their own division

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