The Dodgers and Padres could play a regular-season series in Mexico City next year, Major League Players Association chief Tony Clark told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.
The games in Mexico City “are anticipated being played but have not been formalized,” Clark said ahead of the All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park.
The Times reports that the series is tentatively scheduled for April at the 5,200-seat Estadio Fray Nano, which opened in 2014 and is home to the Mexico City Red Devils of the Mexican League. Red Devils owner Alfredo Harp Helu is part of the Padres’ ownership group.
Major League Baseball has played regular-season games outside of the United States and Canada several times before. Most recently, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened the 2014 season in Sydney. Two years before that, the Mariners and A’s opened the season in Tokyo.
The Dodgers and Padres both market to fans in nearby Mexico and have previously crossed the border for games. In 1996, the Padres played a three-game series against the Mets in August in Monterrey. In 1999, the Padres faced the Rockies in Monterrey on the first Opening Day held outside of the United States and Canada. The Times notes that the Dodgers visited Mexico City for exhibition games against the Red Devils in 1964 and the Mets in 2003.
In the new collective bargaining agreement that was ratified in December, MLB players and owners agreed on a plan for international play in which teams “will stage games or tours in Mexico, Asia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and London” over the next five years.
“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in May. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgment as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”