The Mets restore their Gulf Coast League team

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Last winter the Mets dropped their Gulf Coast League team. It was portrayed by some as a sort of desperate cost-cutting move because the Wilpons were broke, etc., but that never really made a ton of sense. a GCL team costs less than a million bucks a year to operate. It was more likely that the Mets were just seeking an efficiency given that they already had three rookie league operations and more minor league teams than any other franchise.

Whatever it was about doesn’t matter now, though, because they’re getting back in the GCL:

A year after eliminating their Gulf Coast League team in a cost-saving maneuver, the Mets have restored the squad for 2013 … The reintroduction of the GCL team, which primarly is for newly signed players, is necessary because the new collective bargaining agreement results in draftees signing more quickly — in time to participate in games within weeks of the draft in large numbers, according to the Mets.

So, if you have a hankering to sit outside and watch Mets baseball in Florida during the dog days of summer, head to Port St. Lucie this summer and check out the hot, hot GCL action.

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.