Major League Baseball is looking for a ballpark … in Europe


Baseball wants to make inroads in Europe, but unlike the NBA — which can use any old arena — and the NFL — which can use soccer stadiums — baseball has a field problem. As in, there aren’t a lot of baseball diamonds over there big enough for showcase events.

Enter the London Olympics:

The biggest obstacle for MLB in Europe has been to find a facility with the right dimensions and seating capacity, and London’s Olympic Stadium is under consideration …

The London stadium will seat 80,000 spectators for the Olympics. After the games, it will be downsized to a 60,000-capacity multipurpose venue that includes track and field.

An official from MLB International is quoted as saying that, while not perfect, it could work for baseball.  Maybe not Stade Olympique or Turner Field perfect, but it could be done.

Eh. They should build something from scratch. Maybe something akin to the top-end minor league parks being built here now — think Huntington Park here in Columbus — which are fantastic facilities.  The setting for baseball matters way more than it does for other sports. If you want to sell the game to Europeans — and why else would they be doing this — sell it to them in a great place to see a ballgame.  Not an ok-but-flawed conversion project.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.