MLB Expansion on the Table Again?

It appears that for the first time since the 1990s that Major League Baseball has the “e-word” on its mind.

No, no…not errors. Not extra bases. A more impactful “e” word.

Expansion. And quite possibly, Expos.

But, do not take my word for it. Take the word of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who spoke a few days ago in New York with the Associated Press Sports Editors.

“Baseball’s a growth sport, a growth business, [and] sooner or later, growth businesses expand,” he said. “I do see expansion as a longer-term proposition.”

Manfred rationalized his position in the context of transitioning from three five-team divisions in each league to four four-team divisions.

“Fours work better than fives from a scheduling perspective—significantly better,” Manfred said.

If, and according to Manfred, when such an expansion was to occur for Major League Baseball, it would be the first time the league expanded since 1998.

That was the year MLB blazed into Tampa Bay and Arizona with the additions of the (Devil) Rays and the Diamondbacks, respectively.

Prior to that, MLB expanded in the early 1990s with its first foray into the Sunshine State of Florida by way of the Marlins. The Colorado Rockies were also added and five years after MLB arrived in Denver, Coors Field hosted the MLB All-Star Game.

Manfred did say that before expansion were to become a reality, ballpark snafus in Tampa with the Rays and Oakland with the Athletics had to be straightened out.

Stuart Sternberg, has reiterated his commitment to finding a new stadium in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area for the Rays, but his team has also been cited as a candidate for relocation.

The A’s, in the past, once talked about moving to Fremontas well as building a new stadium in San Jose. They have been blocked on numerous occasions by their Bay Area compatriots, the San Francisco Giants, as well as by Major League Baseball since the Giants have rights to the San Jose media market.

The primary city sure to get attention on any relocation front is Montreal—a city that has been without baseball since 2004 when the Expos relocated from Quebec to the Nation’s Capital and became the Nationals.

Quebecois have made their presences known at exhibition games the past few years at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium to let Park Avenue know it wants its Expos back. This year, an exhibition between the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays on April 1 at The Big O drew over 100,000 fans.

Other cities that could be potential candidates for expansion/relocation include Portland, Vancouver, Mexico City, and Charlotte.

6 Responses

  1. #1baseballfan

    What about Las Vegas? If they want to grow the game to urban youth, teenagers and the cultural drivers of society bring a team to Las Vegas. The “cool kids” want hot women, fast cars, high rise condos, bright light strip views, the coolest nightlife, you know the bling bling!! As our guy Bryce Harper is trying to say the game is “tired” and some might say boring. The cities like Montreal, Portland and Charlotte are the same “tired”. Las Vegas is where it’s at!! 40 million visitors come here because it is Awesome, it was the fastest growing city of the 20th century because we offer the good stuff and what the people want. The MLB will continue to lose market share to the NFL and NBA if they don’t offer alternatives to the same tired thinking as expansion to Montreal.

    • John Galt

      Vegas would be nice, but it’s about to become a pretty crowded market. The NHL is almost guaranteed to announce expansion there, probably within the next month and there is a decent chance the Raiders will move there. Considering the expansion process could take a while, MLB might be coming in and having to compete with two other leagues immediately, which could be a deal breaker.

      • #1baseballfan

        It’s not a deal breaker if the NFL and NHL come, if anything it reinforces the facts that Las Vegas is a major league city with all the amenities. We get legitimate big league clubs here the population will boom! No taxes, low cost livinv, great weather, lots of nightlife, best restaurants, National Parks all over, and now MLB and NFL! Shoot Las Vegas might become the size of Los Angeles by 2100.

      • southernboisb

        The drawback with Vegas is will you have SEASON ticket holders? Or will it be an “attraction” for tourists?

      • #1baseballfan

        Based on what? Yes the housing market got hit hard with the economy, and the baby boomers are slowly dying off which has slowed growth a little but it is not in decline. The NFL and NHL are very interested in coming here and the MLB should be as well, if they want to attract younger more diverse fans. This city is growing for young families and retirees, not to mention MLB players developed. The MVP and ROY are from here. Southern California is arguably the best baseball region in the world, but is very expensive to live, a lot of them have and will move to Las Vegas in the future, especially if we have major league teams, it was the fastest growing city of the 20th century and is still one of the fastest growing.

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