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It Must Be The Exchange
2003-03-17 00:19
by Mike Carminati

It Must Be The Exchange Rate

The Mets-Dodgers two-game series in Mexico City (o Ciudad Mexico por supesto) resulted in 57 runs scored from 14 home runs and 74 hits.

It makes me wonder about the differences between the majors and the Mexican League. The Mexican League has been playing in the 7200-foot elevation of Mexico City since 1937 (according to Spanish-only Enciclopedia del Beisbol Mexicano, Segunda Edicion (1994), which I proudly have a copy of). However, I would have to believe that even with the somewhat inflated offensive numbers from the Mexican League, a 20-10 score like was witnessed today (with 10 homers) is a rare occurrence. It leads me to believe that the Mexican League's Triple-A status is even more suspect than one would expect given the dearth of major-league players who have played there.

It also makes me wonder if major-league baseball could become an international game. MLB announced that it would play some games in Europe in 2004, but baseball may be a sport that is more closely tied to the areas from whence it was generated than any other. Basketball and hockey are (now) played indoors so the conditions can be much more easily controlled. That hockey can be played in Florida in June tells you how little the environment has to do with a hockey game. The size of a football limits the effects of the elements to the kicking game (unless of course, there is a blizzard or a rain storm). However, no one seems to say that John Elway's passes went farther because he played in Denver.

But in baseball elevation matters, humidity matters, precipitation matters. Perhaps even longitude matters. It's been 10 years since major-league ball set up shop in Denver and the shopkeepers are still trying to figure out how to play in that environment. And they had been playing minor-league in Denver for over 100 years (107 to be precise). Imagine what the game will be like in San Juan this summer. Or Mexico, or Japan, or Italy.

If baseball ever were able to become the international game it envisions itself to be, the game at the major-league level could become vastly different from even the high-scoring one we witness today. It could be tough to be a purist in fifty years if the sport catches on internationally. So you'll either be stuck rooting on a major-league sport that is relegated to North America while the other major sports are potentially expanding across the globe or you'll have to remain devoted to a sport that would be going through changes that make Bud's tinkering seem downright pedestrian.

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