Newest MLB Division: AL Pacific?
The time may be right for Japanese expansion teams
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2008 3:33 PM CDT
Masanori Murakami was the first Japanese player to play in the major leagues in 1964, when he joined with the Giants. The popularity of baseball in Japan could make a cross-Pacific division viable.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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(Newser) – With the help of modern air travel, Major League Baseball should seriously consider expanding across the Pacific, writes Jim Caple for ESPN. Such a move could be both profitable and intriguing, and keep Japan from hemorrhaging its best talent. Though, as Red Sox manager Terry Francona points out, "Saying it would be fun and making it work are two different things."

Critics worry about jet lag, but Caple believes that if the schedule were arranged well, it needn't be too hard on the players. So should the MLB add Japanese teams as expansions, or start new teams in Asia? There could also be a Japanese division that feeds a team into the playoffs, or an all-Asia division that does the same.