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.
The Miami Marlins have been stockpiling international bonus money of late and now that has paid off, as they just formally announced the signing of top international prospect Victor Victor Mesa.
They have also signed his brother, the less-regarded prospect Victor Mesa, Jr. It was, presumably, a package deal. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that Victor Victor, 22, will receive about $5.25 million while his 17-year-old brother gets a $1 million bonus.
Victor Victor was ranked as the No. 1 player in this year’s international signing class. He’s a plus outfield defender with a strong arm and he has serious wheels as well. He played for Matanzas in Cuba’s Serie Nacional when he was only 16 and was 3-for-7 with two doubles for Cuba during last year’s World Baseball Classic.
Victor Mesa Jr. is a switch-hitting outfielder with potential, but unlike his brother, he’s like to spend considerable time in the minors. Most scouts believe Victor Victor will debut with the Marlins as early as next season.
The Mesa brothers are the son of Victor Mesa, who played in Serie Nacional from the 1970’s into the 1990s and starred on the Cuban national team. He has also managed in Cuba, in Mexico and for Cuba’s 2017 World Baseball Classic team.