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A Strange Plan for MLB Expansion

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Fans wear Montreal Expos uniforms as they watch the Toronto Blue Jays in a pre-season baseball game against the New York Mets Friday, March 28, 2014 in Montreal. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

By Evan Weiner |

Major League Baseball has no plans to add to the industry’s 30 franchises at the moment. There is a thought that somehow MLB can salvage its St. Petersburg franchise from financial ruin by shifting some Tampa Bay Rays home games to Montreal during the summer in some year prior to 2027, which is the final year of the Rays-St. Petersburg stadium agreement.

Major League Baseball is clearly interested in returning to Montreal and opening up a shop. Major League Baseball wants to find a stadium solution for the Rays ownership which failed in its quest to land a stadium somewhere in the Tampa Bay market. MLB is also waiting for the process to play out in Oakland where A’s ownership is trying to get various approvals from government agencies to build a stadium on the city’s waterfront near Jack London Square. Once those two problems are solved and Major League Baseball owners and players get a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, then Commissioner Rob Manfred and his staff can possibly begin studying the pros and cons of adding two Major League Baseball teams.

Manfred has identified various cities that he thinks could eventually get an MLB franchise. MLB is very interested in Montreal and has played regular season games in Monterrey, Mexico. Nashville has a potential owner, there is also some interest in Charlotte in getting an MLB expansion team. In Portland, Oregon investors are trying to get MLB’s attention. The Portland Diamond Project group claims a Portland team would have state wide support and people from Bend, Medford and La Grande would go to Portland between Memorial Day and Labor Day to take in a game. Portland has problems starting with a small TV market. Now potential owners have conceded there could be attendance problems. That is not a winning strategy for Portland.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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