Major League Baseball is considering staging an exhibition game in Athens next spring, and the Baltimore Orioles are interested in participating.
Sandy Alderson, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, said that the game's international presence was one of the topics discussed yesterday during the annual general managers' meetings, in Key Biscayne, Fla. Also under consideration is an international, World Cup-style tournament that could take place in March 2006.
The exhibition game in Athens, Alderson said, would serve several purposes.
"We want to have a game in Europe," he said. "Second, we want to show that we're committed to the Olympic movement. That's important."
Orioles owner Peter Angelos bankrolled Greece's Olympic baseball team, which featured mostly American players with Greek ancestry.
The game could feature the Orioles against another major league team, and would be played in a stadium built for the Athens Olympics. "We're even hopeful we could set up a baseball academy there," Alderson said. "We'll see."
The international tournament, which initially met resistance from professional leagues in South Korea and Japan, seems to have overcome those hurdles, Alderson said. The format would divide players by nationality. The Major League Baseball Players' Association has endorsed the idea.
-- Barry Svrluga