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“I would love to get to 32 teams,” Rob Manfred recently told ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. in a lengthy story. You don’t really need to read the whole thing unless you really want to, as it’s kind of what you’d expect: you don’t get to do a long interview with the commissioner of Major League Baseball if there are going to be a lot of tough questions and pushback. Still, though, Van Natta Jr. got Manfred to mention expansion during their talk, which was one of the early things he discussed back in his first term as commissioner, after taking over for Bud Selig:
No matter how they see the CBA’s fine print, owners seem thrilled with Manfred’s job performance. And why wouldn’t they be? Despite its array of problems, league sources say baseball has grown into a $10 billion-plus-a-year sport, up from $8 billion when Manfred became commissioner. Owners also loved Manfred’s reorganization of the minor leagues in 2020, and in the past decade, franchise valuations have more than quadrupled. Not surprisingly, billionaires want in, and expansion is coming. “I would love to get to 32 teams,” Manfred tells me.