EW YORK -- Having decided to move regular-season games to Puerto Rico for the first time in six years, Major League Baseball and its players would consider a pair of international openers.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we opened away from the county in two different places simultaneously one of these days," Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said Thursday. "We would open on opening day in Puerto Rico and an opening day in Asia somewhere.
Hiram Bithorn hosted the 2001 season opener between Texas and Toronto, and 22 Montreal Expos home games in each of the 2003 and 2004 seasons before the franchise relocated to Washington and was renamed the Nationals. Average attendance dropped from 14,000 in 2003 to 10,000 in 2004.
It also was the site of games during the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009.
MLB has opened the season in Tokyo three times, in 2000 (Chicago Cubs and Mets), in 2004 (New York Yankees and Tampa Bay) and 2008 (Boston in Oakland). It also moved a three-game series between the Mets and San Diego to Monterrey, Mexico, in August 1996.
Spring training games also have been played in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela and Taiwan, and Baltimore made a trip to Cuba in 1999. Baseball's horizons are expanding.
"When we say international baseball, we mean more than Japan and Latin America. We mean the world," Orza said. "We have interest in Australia. We have interest in Great Britain. We have interest in Italy. We've explored opportunities in all those places. So there are a variety of venues -- there is Korea, Taiwan again."