MLB plans Asian, Eng­land games for 2019, 2020

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK:

Ma­jor League Base­ball plans to start the 2019 and 2020 sea­sons in Asia and play reg­u­lar-sea­son games in Eng­land in June of both years. The col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment reached in Novem­ber was fi­nal­ized and sent to the clubs Fri­day, and it con­tains a sched­ule for in­ter­na­tional play through 2021 along with how much ex­tra money each player will re­ceive for mak­ing the trips.

“Play­ing ma­jor league games abroad is crit­i­cally im­por­tant to grow­ing the game in­ter­na­tion­ally, and we are very pleased that the par­ties were able to agree on a very com­pre­hen­sive in­ter­na­tional play plan in bar­gain­ing,” MLB Chief Le­gal Of­fi­cer Dan Halem said in an email to The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The agree­ment calls for the sea­son opener to be played in Asia in 2018 and 2020 and spec­i­fies Ja­pan for 2019. How­ever, plans have not pro­gressed for a 2018 Asian opener and those games are now un­likely, ac­cord­ing to a base­ball of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the plan­ning. The of­fi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause no state­ment was au­tho­rized.

A two-game se­ries be­tween Cleve­land and Min­nesota in San Juan, Puerto Rico, al­ready has been an­nounced for next April 17-18, and the agree­ment calls for an ad­di­tional se­ries in Puerto Rico or the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic in May 2020.

“I think it’s prob­a­bly been in the works for a while for MLB to try to find out how to ex­pand on the in­ter­na­tional and global mar­ket,” Twins man­ager Paul Moli­tor said. “You try to mar­ket your prod­uct the best way you can into the most ex­pan­sive ar­eas you can . ... The fact we were able to pique enough in­ter­est in fan bases from parts maybe we never would have imag­ined a decade or two ago can only be good for the game.”

Se­ries in Mex­ico are planned for each April from 2018-21 and for May 2019 and 2021. Lon­don’s Olympic Sta­dium, West Ham’s Pre­mier League home, has been looked at as a pos­si­ble venue for the games in Bri­tain, and the New York Yan­kees and Bos­ton Red Sox are the most likely teams for 2019.

The NFL has played reg­u­lar-sea­son games in Lon­don since 2007 and has ex­panded to four games there next sea­son, when it also will play in Mex­ico City for the sec­ond straight year. The NBA has held reg­u­lar-sea­son games in Ja­pan, Lon­don and Mex­ico City since 1990, and NBA Fi­nals MVP Kevin Du­rant of the cham­pion Golden State War­riors is cur­rently in In­dia as an ambassador sup­port­ing the sport’s growth.

“Shar­ing my love of bas­ket­ball with thou­sands of boys and girls across In­dia was an un­be­liev­able ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Du­rant, who along with 3,459 In­dian chil­dren set a Guin­ness World Record for the largest bas­ket­ball les­son ever with some par­tic­i­pat­ing via satel­lite. Base­ball play­ers will re­ceive an ex­tra $60,000 each for reg­u­lar-sea­son trips to Asia or Eng­land, and an ad­di­tional $15,000 for trips to Mex­ico, Puerto Rico or the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic. Each event can be one, two or three games.

No games in Aus­tralia are in the works dur­ing the five-year deal, which be­gan this sea­son. The deal calls for spring train­ing trips in the next three years: two Mex­ico se­ries in 2018,

Mex­ico and ei­ther Puerto Rico or the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic in 2019 and one Mex­ico se­ries in 2020. Play­ers re­ceive an ex­tra $5,000 for each in­ter­na­tional spring train­ing se­ries. MostWorld Se­ries tours are planned for Ja­pan in 2018 and 2020, and Asia or Mex­ico in 2019. Play­ers get $100,000 for post­sea­son All-Star trips to Ja­pan, $50,000 for the rest of Asia and $25,000 for Mex­ico. — AP

LOS ANGELES: Sec­ond base­man Joe Panik #12 of the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants tags out Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at­tempt­ing to steal sec­ond in the eighth in­ning at Dodger Sta­dium on Fri­day in Los Angeles, Cal­i­for­nia. The Dodgers won 6-4.—

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