MLB checking out European venues for games in '07

Updated: September 8, 2005, 5:24 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- One of London's famous cricket venues has joined Major League Baseball's list of potential sites for regular-season games in 2007.

After moving games to Mexico, Puerto Rico and Japan, baseball officials have met with representatives of the Surrey County Cricket Club, which runs The Oval cricket ground in south London. Wet, chilly weather in the spring could make an opening-season game difficult, but a game later in the season is possible.

"Major League Baseball is very interested in playing games in Europe," baseball senior vice president Paul Archey said Thursday. "We're investigating possibilities in Europe where we may be able to play regular-season games as early as the 2007 season."

Archey, who is in the Netherlands for baseball's World Cup, said other venues in Europe being considered included Rome; Paris; Munich, Germany; and Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Baseball officials inspected Rome's Olympic Stadium in April 2003. Archey said northern European venues presented weather problems early in the season.

"There's a lot of interest in us playing in London, and I think selling tickets would be the easiest part of it," Archey said.

The World Baseball Classic, a 16-nation event organized by Major League Baseball and its players' association, is to be played next year in March in the United States, Asia and Latin America. Baseball officials say the next regular-season games moved to an international site are likely to be in 2007.

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays opened the 2004 season with two games in Tokyo, the second pair of regular-season games in Japan. In addition, the Montreal Expos played some games in San Juan for the second straight season in 2004 before the franchise moved to Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press