Manfred: MLB Games In Different Places Help Drive Interest
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said one idea behind MLB playing more games in unique venues is that the league has a "very long season, and it's important to make events to drive the interest over that whole long season." Manfred, appearing on "Baseball Tonight" prior to the Cubs-Pirates game in Williamsport, said, "We like the idea of taking baseball to places where people don't ordinarily have an opportunity to see it. We think Iowa is going to be phenomenal next year, the interest in that announcement has been tremendous and we think it will be a great event for us." Manfred: "We will continue to go to new places, both domestically and internationally, and as long as (Deputy Commissioner) Tony Petitti keeps coming up with ideas about what might work, we're going to keep doing it." Manfred also said MLB has "benefited" from players who have played in the Little League Classic who have "gone back and talked to other players about how much fun it is to come here, what a great experience it is, and that's really helped us build momentum for the event." Manfred added he thinks of the LLC as a "regular part of our summer schedule." He said, "A little different than places we've gone that were exciting, really good for the game and we may not be back there immediately. This, we think of as, we do this in the summer, we do it in August and that's how we think about it."
INT'L LEAGUE? Manfred added MLB has "had a lot of interest from places we hadn't thought about, particularly in Europe," to host games, although "facilities are a problem." Manfred said some city officials will say, "'We have a facility we think you could be able to use,' and that's great." Manfred: "We love that and we don't think we have the corner on good ideas and plenty of games that we could move places to keep the season interested and centered on the event nature of what we do" (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN, 8/18).
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: Last Night's Little League Classic game received plenty of praise on Twitter. The MLBPA tweeted, "Little League Classic was a good one! ... The best part was the opportunity for very talented Little Leaguers to interact with some #MLBPlayers!" Pirates SS Cole Tucker: "One of the best days ever." The Athletic's Darren Haynes: "Winning the night is the little league team sitting behind home plate -- every one of the kids imitating Craig Kimbrel. Classic!" Williamsport Sun-Gazette's Mitch Rupert: "Hey @MLB, can you just leave the lights and batter's eye up at Bowman Field when you leave this week?" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Nubyjas Wilborn: "Sunday was a cool experience before the ballgame." Illinois-based WCIA-CBS' Craig Choate: "Can we all agree, the Little League Classic jerseys should be in every teams regular rotation? Looking at you, @MLB."