SI's Tom Verducci cites sources as saying that MLB “could play opening games in Australia next season and in the Netherlands” in ’15. Sources also said that the league is “studying a possible Yankees-Red Sox game in London and a training academy in Italy.” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, “If we do it right, you won’t recognize the sport in a decade.” Verducci writes the mission of the recently-completed World Baseball Classic is “to grow the game internationally, not to assuage American feelings of superiority, and MLB’s metrics and plans are pointing upward” (SI, 3/25 issue).
ON THIN ICE? SI.com’s Brian Cazeneuve wrote the NHL “may expand upon the Winter and Heritage Classics to include more frequent outdoor games.” Cazeneuve asked, “Why not bring in more fans? Why not generate more revenue? Why not? Because outdoor hockey is going to hit a saturation point.” There are “logistical inconveniences that players are willing to overlook in order to participate in something they may do once in their lives.” But if they do it “a dozen times, those inconveniences won't have a greater purpose and will simply become nuisances.” The “swells of income and buzz will also likely diminish," and the ratings will “drop if viewers don't find outdoor hockey to be such a novel idea anymore” (SI.com, 3/20).
RESCUE ME: The AP’s Tim Dahlberg wrote under the header, “Can Brittney Griner Save The WNBA?” The Baylor Univ. senior basketball star “could be the one player who can get non-believers to tune in.” That would be “welcome news for a league that, approaching its 17th season, still struggles to win eyeballs.” Griner has had 14 dunks in her career, and that “will sell some tickets in the WNBA, a league desperate to get people in seats” (AP, 3/20).