MLB Expansion: Baseball Discussions to Add Two More Teams

Friday July 1, 2011

 

MLB reports:  When looking at the current state of baseball, some very important changes are on the horizon.  MLB reports tackled in the past weeks the topics of MLB realignment, the future of the DH and expanding and changing the playoffs (click on links to view these posts).  Whether you are a traditionalist or modern thinker, we can all agree that revisions to the baseball system are coming.  To compliment many of the new developments that are coming, we have one last topic that we need to cover.  This is a biggie so hold on to your hats:  MLB Expansion.  Major League Baseball, as slow as it is to adapt, has come to the time that it must acknowledge that the American League and National League need a balanced amount of teams.  When contraction didn’t work (Minnesota stayed and Montreal moved to Washington), we were left with thirty MLB teams.  To fix the discrepancy, we need sixteen teams per league.  As a result, get ready for Major League Baseball to expand to two new cities.

Before anyone stars howling, let me insert a disclaimer.  There is no available information yet confirming that MLB will expand.  But from all the signs of the state of the game, it appears that expansion is on the horizon.  It must be.  Expansion will lead to balanced leagues, which will be a must in the addition of more wild card teams.  In 1993, MLB added the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins.  In 1998, the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks joined the mix.  Since then, we have gone thirteen years without expansion.  Baseball popularity is at an all time high, with the economy slowly starting to rebound.  The demand and money are there and anytime the MLB owners can fill their wallets, they will take it.  Expansion fees back in 1998 were $130 million.  To contrast, the Texas Rangers sold last August for $593 million.  Let’s ballpark it and say that each new expansion team could easily bring in $250 million each.  That would be $500 million available to be shared by the existing 30 MLB owners.  That is a minimum of $16 million per team and even that amount is conservative.  Realistically, we could see $25-$30 million per team as the bonus.  Money talks and the lure of the big payday will be too much for MLB owners to pass up much longer.  By having a balanced schedule, leading to realignment and more wild card teams, together with the revenues that are generated, both teams and players should be happy.  It is a win-win for all.

The biggest argument that I have heard against MLB expansion is the dilution of talent.  There is a thin amount of pitching to go around as it is, and by adding more teams to the mix, the talent levels will supposedly be at an all-time low.  I don’t buy it.  Take a look at AA and AAA and how many major league ready players are wasting away due to a lack of opportunity.  Some are there for financial considerations, by teams wishing to delay their arbitration and free agency years.  I acknowledge that.  But there is so much talent at those levels alone that an expansion draft could stock two competitive MLB teams.  I truly believe that.  Then we should take into account the globalization of the sport.  The 2013 World Baseball Classic will feature twelve new countries into the mix.  By creating and furthering the interest in baseball around the world, including Great Britain, Germany, France etc., Major League Baseball will create a deeper pool of talent as a result.  It will take time and the benefits of adding more countries to the WBC in expanding the players that are generated may not be felt for a decade or longer.  But baseball needs to think long-term, not short.  Even if there is a dilution of the quality of players for a brief time, it is not unreasonable to think that the world as a whole with its population could stock 32 MLB teams.  It currently stocks 30 teams quite well and the problem, if any, is that in the future we will actually have more quality players than available teams to play for.

The main benefit of expansion is the created interested in Major League Baseball in more cities and the added rivalries and intrigue to the game itself.  There are baseball hungry fans in many cities that are denied the privilege of watching MLB games live, due to lack of proximity.  Adding MLB teams will create more fans in the new cities and surrounding areas.  Merchandising sales will increase, jobs will be added and economies will benefit in those cities.  As long as each new team has a solid economic plan in creating a business model for itself, from the ballpark to the day-to-day operation of the team, new MLB teams will be cash cows and not drains on their respective cities.  There is a reason why cities and potential owners campaign to be awarded a Major League Baseball team.  Baseball is a lucrative business.  By understanding why expansion is necessary and beneficial, it is time to jump into the candidates.

From everything that I have read and people that I have spoken with, the following is a list of ten potential MLB expansion destinations.  From these ten cities, two may end up being the lucky winners.  I have included a brief commentary beside each candidate for reference:

1)  Las Vegas:  There is money in Vegas and demand for the sport.  The biggest hindrances are the gambling and economic issues for the area.  I think Las Vegas should get a team and baseball may feel the same way.

2)  Portland:  One of the largest cities without a team, this would be a safe bet for Major League Baseball.  This city has been thrown around in almost every discussion on expansion.  This one will likely happen.

3)  San Antonio:  Similar to Portland, but there are already two teams based in Texas.  If any area will get three MLB teams, it is New York (see Brooklyn discussion).

4)  Sacramento:  Is the California market getting saturated?  With Oakland having issues and looking to a move to San Jose, there may be alarm bells that hinder Sacramento.  There is also a chance the city will lose its NBA team which does not help from an image standpoint.

5)  Orlando:  More teams to Florida?  The Rays aren’t exactly busting at the gate and the Marlins are moving to Miami next year.  I could see the Rays moving if they do not get a new stadium, so expansion will likely be held off here for now.

6)  Nashville/Memphis:  Both are great cities but with other viable markets available, Nashville/Memphis are a long-shot.

7)  Mexico City:  This is the sexy pick if Major League Baseball truly wants to become international.  The travel logistics could make this one very difficult.  For a sport that is slow to evolve, this is too much change, too soon.

8)  Vancouver or Montreal:  Stop snickering as this could happen.  Ok, not Montreal, but Vancouver is a possibility.  After the loss of the Expos, I cannot see baseball ever going back to Quebec.  Then when we account for the fact that Vancouver lost its NBA team, baseball may be scared off from these areas as being non-viable.  The Toronto Blue Jays sit middle-in-the-pack for attendance and I think MLB is satisfied with one Canadian squad.  Happy Canada Day to all the Canucks reading this article and enjoy the Jays this weekend.  But as far as more Canadian teams in baseball, I am sorry but I do not see it happening.  Ever.

9)  Brooklyn:  The talk of the Nets coming to Brooklyn soon has sparked renewed interest in the area for baseball.  The Brooklyn Dodgers will never come back to existence, but a new expansion team might.  Given baseball’s rich history and love of everything retro, I really like this selection.  Don’t discount the power of New York, as it is one of the central hubs of sport.  I only give this one a 25% chance of happening, but a very solid 25.

10)  New Orleans:  A feel-good pick, given the tragedy suffered by the city.  But on an economic and rational basis, it is difficult to envision bringing a new baseball team coming to a rebuilding area that still is suffering major financial issues.

That concludes today’s discussion on MLB expansion.  As a starting point for the topic, I am sure that this will not be the last we hear about it.  Given that MLB works in secret ways often, don’t be surprised if an announcement on two new expansion teams comes out of left field one day.  While it would be fun to hold a competition and have cities campaign for selection, MLB may not want to run the risk of alienating and upsetting teams that are not chosen.  At the end of the day, the key for baseball will be to get the right cities and owners in place.  This will happen in the next year or two and should be an interesting process.  Will we see the Portland Sluggers, Las Vegas Aliens or Brooklyn Bombers?  Time will tell on that one.  What we can be sure is that the face of Major League Baseball over the next few years will change substantially.  From the teams, to the playoffs and divisions.  Change is in the air as baseball continues to evolve with the times.

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Posted on July 1, 2011, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 155 Comments.

  1. Michael Siever

    I think San Antonio would be a good place. And here’s my response to some arguments against it:

    “…but there are already two teams based in Texas.” And California already has five, and they are talking about adding one more to that State. But the reason that California has the largest population of MLB teams right now is because they have the largest population in the nation. Texas has the second largest; therefore they should have the second largest in MLB teams.

    “If any area will get three MLB teams, it is New York (see Brooklyn discussion).” The problem with going to Brooklyn is it’s in NYC, which already has 2 MLB teams in the same city. What if for the first few years, the new team just sucks? Then everyone living will just abandon them and stick to the Yankees and the Mets. Then MLB would have brought a third team to NYC for nothing. If they want to go to New York State, why not Buffalo? Alternative for those living in that area. But San Antonio is far more spread out from Dallas and Houston. So, there would be more diverse choices for those living in certain areas: Rangers for those living in the northern part of the state, Astros for those living in the eastern part of the state, and San Antonio for those living in the central/southwestern part of the state. More diversity than adding a third team to NYC.

    Another good place for MLB, which I am surprised didn’t make the cut on this list, is Indianapolis. Larger population than Portland or Las Vegas, and they already have the Colts, the Pacers, and the Indy 500. So it would seem they’re very sports oriented in Indianapolis, which would make it a safe bet. Why not add MLB to their attractions?

    • Michael, you make very strong points. I don’t know what it is about Texas, but it doesn’t get the love California and New York do. Plus Houston is in such rebuilding mode that most people think Rangers only for Texas baseball.

    • Indianapolis for sure, That city is growing like crazy

    • Indy is a very popular site for a future MLB team. Have heard that one kicked around many times.

    • If California is love then why the team in Anaheim, Anaheim Angles, now called Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim not Anaheim Angles?

    • This one I do know the answer too. The Angels management are able to justify marketing to the whole area with having both of Los Angeles and Anaheim in the same name without alienating the regions. They changed their name from California Angels because there are now 5 teams IN CA, so it wasn’t practical.. Arthur Moreno believes in competing with the local market that is fighting with the Dodgers.

    • What are your thoughts on Charlotte? It’s MSA population is middle of the pack in comparison to current MLB teams, and while there are currently two major teams in the area, the Southeast is a baseball/football region, not a basketball one. Charlotte is also the second-largest US financial hub, so there is wealth there to support a team.

    • Charlotte would be a phenomenal place for MLB! Lots of support for baseball in Charlotte.

    • They are building the stadium now, Uptown, and someone with some sense in them needs to tell them to build a major league stadium. From what I have read in the area they are just shy of a Major League sized stadium. Not a good move for Charlotte if that is the case.

    • Charles Kane

      “Already have 2 MLB teams.” Are you serious? You do realize that Missouri, Florida, and Texas alone have two teams each, and California has 5! Wouldn’t it stand to reason that the biggest market in the country that’s notorious for making more money than they know what to do with should have more than two teams? The northeast region from North Jersey to Boston should have no fewer than 8 teams. There’s baseball fever up there. You don’t need to worry about one horse towns where other sports are already big.

    • Michael Siever

      Considering the fact that the Rangers have gone to the World Series two times in a row, and are hopefully going on for third time (and winning, fingers crossed), that could possibly spark some interest in the Southwest Texas region. San Antonio is big enough for a team, and it could give the Central Texans, like me, a decent alternative to having to drive 3 hours to Houston, to see the Astros play, or 5 hours to DFW to go see the Rangers play.

  2. Chris Topher

    i would say nashville. they’ve already got football and hockey, and are a cultural and tourist destination due to the musical history. they are a bit over 2 hours away from both knoxville and memphis, with little rock ar, louisville ky and lexington ky all within driving distance. cincinnati and texas are the 2 closest teams geographically and those aren’t close enough that there’d be a worry of stealing fans from those teams (similar to the orioles complaints when washington got the nationals).

    • Nashville was on the list. I have been to Memphis and loved it. My concern with nashville is economy and support. Can team up with country music to promote!

    • Louisville (>1.5 hours) and Lexington (1 hour) are in very close driving proximity to Cincinnati and the Reds. I am from KY, currently live in Cincinnati and I can say support for the Redlegs is actually quite high. The Louisville Bats are a farm team of the Reds and KY has no professional sports teams. Outside of rooting for U of L and UK, most of KY (at least the metro areas of Lexington, Louisville and north) already go to the Bengals (lol–out of necessity) and the Reds.

      That said, Nashville and Indianapolis may be decent markets, but they both seem to love their football and basketball so much more (include the college teams as well). Religh, NC is similar sized city as Nashville and boasts a growing population and wealth as well as proximity to Charlotte and SC.

  3. Portland obvious…Charlotte 2nd pick.

  4. No indianapolis? They support the AAA Indians very well and could create a strong rivalry with the slew of Midwest teams within just a couple of hours.

    • Indianapolis is an interesting one. Perhaps steal the Orioles one night ;)

    • I apologize for coming late to the thread here, but as an Indy native, I can’t see Indianapolis getting an MLB team. Why? Just like you said, Dan, the Indianapolis Indians. They have a state-of-the art, still-quite-new stadium right downtown, are very popular locally, and they’ve been around for almost a century. I can’t see the city kicking out their prize AAA team and renovating Victory Field for a major league team anytime in the next 25 years… Not only that, but most people who watch MLB here are Cubs, Cards or Reds fans anyway. Charlotte, from the comments, seems like the ideal place.

  5. The list of cities should include Charlotte or Raleigh NC. That is a fast growing area with a lot of corporate money (sponsorship is huge).

    • North Carolina got some votes of confidence in readers’ response to expansion. MLB will expand by 2 teams in next 2-3 years in my estimation. Not sure if NC will make the cut.

  6. Raleigh/Durham, NC would make a good location

  7. Baseball popularity is NOT at an all time high. MLB would like for you to believe this so they trot out attendance numbers. But in the age of Internet ticket brokers, StubHub, eBay, etc. people are getting in to games for $5. Season ticket holders are dumping tickets big time. So attendance numbers are not what they seem. Interest is skyrocketing? Please….. Have a look at TV ratings for “important” baseball games — pitiful.

  8. New Orleans can barely support the Hornets, Florida does not need more MLB teams, and you don’t even mention Charlotte?

    Charlotte lost the Hornets due to a dispute with the former owner, but gained the Bobcats quickly. Charlotte supports the Carolina Panthers Big time. Charlotte NC would be the correct choice for an MLB expansion team.

    • Many readers have asked on Charlotte. It is a possibility, definitely. Not the city that I was metioned by my sources as THE top contender, but on paper they do make sense. As with everything, time will tell. Portland is the name that I am most thrown and Memphis still.

      Thank you for reading and appreciate the comments!

    • memphis already has the tripple A redbirds. and many cardinal fans support Them and go there from st louis. it would be hard to steal loyal fans from the market to support another major league team. Memphis is part of cardinal Nation. Charlotte would be a better choice.

  9. You overlook an open market, Oklahoma City. The Redhawks have better attendance than some MLB teams and the Bricktown Ballpark has enough room to expand to MLB capacity, with a relatively small investment.

    • Many markets out there, including Oklahoma City. Have received messages on Major League Baseball putting a team there. Good points- let’s hope the powers to be are listening! Thank you for your comment and reading the Reports!

  10. Portland is no longer a great option. The stadium is gone. Jeld-Wen Field was renovated for the Portland Timbers and Portland State Vikings last year without a baseball configuration. Further, efforts to secure funding for a minor league park failed and the Beavers moved to Arizona. It just seems like the time on MLB expansion to Portland has expired, they made their financial commitment to Major League Soccer and are unlikely now to commit to baseball.

    The Norfolk-Virginia Beach area was considered last time the NHL expanded, but they didn’t go there. That could be a viable market for MLB.

    New Jersey is viable for their own team, even though it is included in the markets for several other teams.

    • Hello Jesse,

      Thank you for your comments. Expansion has been a heated topic on the Reports. With respect to Portland, it is a large market that many feel can sustain Major League Baseball. It is the stadium that is the big kicker. If Selig could find an owner that could fund the majority of the stadium on their own, we could see baseball in Portland in the near future. But without the stadium, other areas will receive greater consideration. Great point. New Jersey may face a difficult time with the Yankees and Mets already in the area. Not sure about Norfolk…but you never know.

  11. A little late to the discussion but…with reference to your comments regarding Canadian teams.
    1. Montreal is an absolute non starter…no stadium, no owner, fanbase is shot, however;
    2. Vancouver…southern BC is the baseball hotbed of Canada, Vancouver has recently completed refurbished it’s stadium which could easily accomodate baseball (and has a retractable roof), good economy, solid fan base, history of supporting minor league ball, natural rivalries with Seattle and Toronto….it could definitely work there in the very short term…the problems are both Seattle and Toronto will put up pressure for market reasons, US TV revenues won’t be enhanced (nor will Canadian for that matter)…so while I agree with you in general, I don’t think it will happen based on your reasons.

  12. North Carolina is definitely in need of a baseball team. Just promote the Durham Bulls.

    • It would be a dream come true to have the Durham Bulls in Major League Baseball. Kevin Costner would throw out the ceremonial first pitch, or at least catch it ;)

  13. Somehow, I missed this discussion this summer as well.

    I’d rather there was *no* expansion – the talent *will* be watered down for a while (it has been in every single expansion round in the past), but if it prevents interleague play every day from happening, I can live with it.

    I think the most likely candidates are Portland, Charlotte, or San Antonio. There’s owner interest in all three markets, which are rapidly growing with existing major league sports franchises already in place. I would be quite surprised if it doesn’t end up being two of these three cities. Las Vegas is simply too problematic – the gambling industry has always been a barrier to a sport with long memories of the Black Sox, and the highly transient nature of the population raises serious questions as to whether it could build a durable fanbase. New York *could* certainly support a third team, but what kind of opposition will Steinbrenner and Wilpon mount to carving up their market further? Orlando will only get a team if the Rays move there (and build them a ballpark). The other cities are long shots for the reasons already given.

    With the growing international interest in baseball already alluded to, there’s certainly interest in making MLB more international by adding a non-US market – and I think the owners would approve it if there were a really viable possibility, especially in Latin America. But the obvious candidates there – Mexico, Havana, Santo Domingo, Caracas – have severe economic and political issues which more than offset the enthusiastic baseball fan presence. Add in the long flight times…it’s at least a couple decades off.

    At the end of the day, the decision will come down to money, as it always has. The market will have to show some evidence it can support a team, and any ownership group will *have* to prove they will be able to build (either privately or with public support) an attractive, viable baseball-only stadium *immediately*. With all the issues that Tampa, Miami and Oakland have had to face playing in unloved multi-use stadia the last few years, MLB is simply not going to go down that road again. The Rockies and D-Backs succeeded in part because they had ballpark packages lined up right out of the gate. None of the candidate cities currently has such a park, or even active plans to construct one.

  14. The Marlins are already in Miami, they’re just rebranding next season when they get their baseball exclusive park instead of sharing with the NFL Dolphins. On another note, pretty much all of the markets listed have current Minor League franchises within them that some hardly recieve any support from true fans, not saying that the markets are bad choices for an MLB team, but they need more reason to throw a Major League team into an unknown market, or a small one and hope for the best. Charlotte is probably my top pick if the ballpark is built in the city, but the AAA team there moved 45 minutes away (and into South Carolina) and hardly gets any support from its “home” crowd. Mexico is probably not a good pick because it is not as followed and supported as Soccer. throwing a Major League team down there would have to most likely got an area such as Mexico City or another highly populated area. if not, it will fail. Buffalo, NY has a ballpark ready to expand to Major League status, currently seating 20,000+ (though for a minor league team, even AAA, this is more than double or maybe even triple the average) and the New York Markets have always been big. Las Vegas, i just don’t see happening. It is a city built for tourism and gambling, not professional sports. Bringing MLB would be a huge gamble, and Vegas would probably lose everything just like the poor sap who bets all or nothing twice in a casino. Portland is iffy, but i think it could support well enough during the summer. The winter though is where it comes rough, especially considering the MLB season is 22 days longer than the minor league full season, meaning 22 more days in cold weather, plus the post season if they make it. Indianapolis may be one of the better choices, or even just any market with succesful major franchises in other sports. I just hope that California doesn’t get anymore. they’ve got five major league teams, their own 12 team A-Advanced league, and a bunch of other pro baseball teams from all sorts of levels scattered throughout the state. They don’t need anymore.

  15. Truthfully you cannot post here without speaking of North Carolina. Durham could just become an MLB team or place a team in neighbor Raleigh or the Queen City of Charlotte. Baseball is huge in North Carolina and it’s surprising that it’s taking this long. Especially since NC scored a HOCKEY team before baseball. The other city: Portland or San Antonio. Portland not so much therefore the vote goes to SA.

    • Thank you Roy for the comments. MLB has been slow on expansion talks and nothing surfacing soon. But it is coming- there is no doubt. 16 teams per league makes sense. It will lead to division realignment as well, but mixing it up so to speak is good for the game. North Carolina is getting a great deal of talk and are definite contenders. Portland is one that I am constantly hearing whispers, but they will face heavy competition. At the end of the day, the main thing is that we all want to see the game grow and expand. That is a good thing.

  16. Charlotte, a city not on your list and San Antonio have both pushed for teams. Give it time. For now, I think the Astros will move to the AL-West and inter-league play will thus increase. As a Reds fan, I like this, makes the NL Central less competitive.

  17. would love to see a MLB team in the great state of NJ. I know, we have all the NY teams, but a lot of don’t support them. Even an A3 team would be great! Newark has a stadium too. E. Rutherford could house an MLB stadium (maybe)

  18. Charlotte, hands down.
    1.8 mil MSA
    2.5 mil CSA
    750k in the city limits
    21st largest GDP in the nation
    23rd largest TV market
    No major college sports to compete with the professional $$$$s
    The closest team is 241 miles away (in Atl).

    And why would MLB not want a park somewhere in this downtown area?

    Aerial of Charlotte Skyline

    Uptown Charlotte

    Skyline of Charlotte, NC

    There are certainly other markets available. However, a list of the “Top Ten” and Charlotte is not on that list? Obviously, MLB IS slow to adapt. Even the US president chose Charlotte for his democratic convention next year (Charlotte beat out three cities with MLB teams btw). IMO, the current problems with the NBA makes Charlotte an even bigger obvious choice (the NFL is currently the only game in town).

  19. Curious what your thoughts are now that the Astros are moving to the AL to balance the leagues at 15.

    • Here is what Sam Evans, one of our Baseball Writers thought of the Astros move to the AL West: http://mlbreports.com/2011/10/30/astros-al/

      My thoughts: I love it. Astros need some fresh energy considering the state of the franchise. Great rivalry with form with Rangers. Balanced leagues makes complete sense. AL West teams had unfair advantage with higher odds of advancing to playoffs at only 4 teams, while NL Central and 6 teams was simply too many. A different interleague matchup every day will give a great mix to the schedule. I am a traditionalist, but can appreciate advances in the game. Win-win-win here. Now just change the name back to the Colt 45’s!!!!!

  20. This is probably a crazy idea. But how about putting a National League team in Boston? Boston is a huge sports city and I think it could support a number 2 franchise. Especially if they find a way to contend. I realize this is a long shot.

    • Interesting thought Chris. A 2nd team in Boston. Maybe in the Mass area- but there would be some issues. Territory rights for one. Expansion or relocation? Maybe…gulp…move the Red Sox to the National League (Can’t see it happen). Would they play out of Fenway or get a new stadium? Lots to consider. It is a HUGE long shot and has a 0.5% chance of happening. But still makes for baseball talk. Thank you for the comment!

  21. I know this is off topic but with the Houston Astros moving to the AL West and constant interleague play, what exactly is the point of an American League and a National League, besides of course the DH?

  22. Yeah, I know its a long shot. Maybe I’ve just been reading too much about the Boston Braves lately lol.

    I was actually thinking more along the lines of the second team being a national league team and playing in a new stadium ( unless somehow the Sox move on from Fenway and sell it down the line, not likely though) . But yeah territory rights would really make things hard just to get approval to move a team there. Perhaps they could give TV rights to the Sox, like the Nationals had to do with the Os. I was thinking the expansion route due to the article. Perhaps the Rays or Marlins could be a fit someday if you go existing ( Rays would have to switch leagues though).

    This would probably have to be something that the commissioners office really believed in.

  23. If Charlotte, NC ever got a Major League Baseball team I would be a season ticket holder.

  24. I disagree with Dave G. on earlier post. Indianapolis would be a great location. Their other teams (Colts and Pacers) do pretty good attendance wise. They are one of the bigger cities without a MLB team. There are 2 million people in central IN / Indy area. Yes, they have a great AAA minor league team there and that is why I think it would be a good location for MLB.. They tried before to get a MLB team but it was not the right time. Now would be good. Already the amateur sports capital of the U.S.and headquarters of the NCAA, and auto racing capital of the world, this town loves it’s sports.. It’s true that Cincy , St. Louis, and Chicago are close by as far as relation to other teams BUT that’s the same as in NFL football too. No problems there. Sold out all the time! I’m not sure if the local sports corp gave up on getting a baseball team or are still evaluating it but I think Indy would be a great venue for baseball!..It’s a great sports town..

  25. Two team baseball expansion, my first choice would be Portland. Ranked 23rd in MSA (metropolitan statistical area) and is the largest 1-team market for the 4 major sports. They have the demographic to take another franchise. This would give another representative team in the Northwest. Mr. Nike could build them a stadium out there.

    The second team would comprise of several candidates.

    San Antonio: Another 1-team market that could take another franchise. They can establish a fanbase from Austin too, and can pull some weekend crowd from that area. They are far enough from the existing Texas state teams to hold their own. The distance to the nearest baseball town Houston is roughly Washington to NY, a distance that covers 5 teams (Nats, O’s Phils, NYY, NYM)

    Las Vegas: The largest zero team market. However a lot of transplants and transients. Gambling a concern but too much is made of it. Stuff happened in Cinci, it could happen anywhere.
    The stadium can get the tourist traffic to attend games, especially if it’s on the strip.

    Charlotte: A two team market, but a growing area. Atlanta has a foothold in the south for baseball. There’s room for another team.

    Nashville: Pretty much same reasons as Charlotte. Another team in the south.

    Both Charlotte and Nashville are ranked higher in MSA than some 2-team markets such as Buffalo, Milwaukee, and New Orleans. Any additional teams would make them the smallest 3-team market.

    • I propose this comment as a citizen of New Orleans. I think it would be a great spot for a team. They have a pretty average sized stadium for the AAA team already. Yes, it is rebuilding but the saints are flourishing. The hornets are struggling because Louisiana is a football/baseball state. Another better spot for a team would be baton rouge. Baton rouge and new orleans are only 45 minutes away from each other and so fans can make that trip daily. Baton rouge is currently the largest city with no professional or minor league franchise in any sport! It is true LSU baseball has a huge fan baseand is widely supported and the Louisiana fans are very loyal so I cant see how an MLB team would fail.

    • Has anyone ask me when MLB will have expansion to 32 teams? The MLB will have expansion to 32 teams when MLB commissioner Bud Selig retires in the future.

  26. If its just Two teams, How about the Tokyo Giants and Hanshin Tigers?

  27. I like the New Orleans idea, but instead of there the better destination would be Baton Rouge. People are huge on baseball around there (go to a game at the new Alex Box Stadium).

  28. You have only mention one of the two obvious choices: Portland and Salt Lake. Why these two because the move of the Astros to the AL West has likely spelled the demise of this great franchise. San Antonio was an obvious landing spot for the Rays until the Astros move. So what now? I think one expansion team will be an NL team in Houston, yes Houston. It won’t happen for a few years and not until the current ALW franchise moves to either SLC or Portland. Despite what Jonathan Hacohen said there is zero interest among Astros fans in playing in a division with Texas. If you don’t believe me ask Mets fans if they want to swap places with the Blue Jays so thay can have a “natural rivalry” with the Yankees. You’ve got to be crazy to think this makes sense for the Stros. This was an attempt by MLB to prop up the Rangers and it won’t work. Look for another bankrupcy as soon as they fall out of contention for 3 years. I will hate to see the Astros, as they inevitably will, leave town. But just like the Oilers it WILL be for the best.

    • Thank you for the comment. You are very passionate about your ‘Stros and that is a good thing!

      In all fairness, why is the move to the AL such a bad thing? Imagine at the point that the Astros have a strong young nucleus and playing in the run-friendly AL West. You really can’t imagine a great rivalry with the Rangers? What real links do the Astros have to the Pirates, Cubs, Brewers, Reds and Cards? I remember back in the day when the Astros were in the NL West, before there was a Central division. To me they were a team without a true identity, almost thrown into the Central but without the best fit. Yes, they are definitely NL based- but change could be good. There is talk of new uniforms and a new name. In 3 years, we may not recognize this franchise. You have a beautiful park and rich history. While the Colt .45s name will unlikely return (despite my dream), there will be a new future for the team. Still a great park and fans. But no more astrodome, astroturf and likely the Astros. I am a big NL supporter- but for the Astros, I really think the change will be good. The most natural rivalry is the Rangers and having the teams in the same division would be great.

      As far as the Mets, do the fans want to move into the AL East??? No. I doubt it. The fans are used to the NL game and have their rivalries already with the the Braves and Marlins. But if the Mets were to move to the AL East, I see it as a positive thing. The Mets and Yankees rivalry in the same division would be great for the game. Imagine both as contenders fighting for a playoff berth? Great ball. While the fans may initially protest, the truth is that many fans initially do not like change. But change can be good. If it weren’t for change, only 4 teams would still make the playoffs. We would not have the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Rays, Marlins etc. I look forward to the progression of the Astros to the AL and hopefully it will work over time. Thank you for reading the Reports and we appreciate your feedback!

  29. if Major Leauge Baseball does expand, they should think about Norfolk, as well as Charlotte and back to Montrea. whwere would the Brooklyn play at, unless they built a NEW Stadiom near Coney Island Area

    • Brooklyn would need a new stadium, as many cities that are being considered don’t have a major league ready facility. Hard to put the money in until you have a team. I don’t see baseball coming back to Montreal- sorry. Too many reasons, mainly that since it failed once- MLB is unlikely to try again. Charlotte is another really popular one. For sentimental reasons I would love to see Brooklyn, but it’s unlikely at this point.

  30. A third New York team, either in Brooklyn or New Jersey, would help mitigate the domination of the New York market.

    Baseball has the talent for two more teams, and it could then divide the leagues into four 4-team divisions. You wouldn’t need wild cards or any such thing. Play a 14-10 schedule (162 games, no interleague.)

    Montreal, Portland, Charlotte, New Jersey or Brooklyn could work.

    The American League needs a fourth West Coast team.

  31. History shows that cities support MLB much better the second time around. KC, Seattle, Milwaukee, and even Washington bear out this point.

  32. Norfolk is the biggest market not to have a major-league team in any of the major sports.

  33. Chris, BU’s Nickerson Field is on the site of old Braves Field. The RF wall still stands and the police station there is the old Braves ticket office.

  34. Brookyln has to be at the top of the list

    -tv markets are irrelevant in most cases: with cable tv packages, anyone can watch any game now…in any city

    -baseball is about myth: If you think baseball is gaining in popularity think again, as we continue to move into a faster pace society based solely on information based economies (internet, mobile devices etc etc) baseball will lose its patience. What I mean by that is, the ecology surrounding the myth of baseball will slowly wither away. That myth, well documented throughout the 20th century, required fans and players to be patient for 9 innings 160+ games a year. Thats a lot of patience. We now live in a society that is slowly disengaging from that myth between secs and mins in a baseball game.

    Brooklyn should be first second and third on anyones list for relocation or expansion. The idea of having brooklyn apart of major league baseball not only makes a lot of money for both the mets and the yankees, but a very very very serious intra borough rivalry. It would be a renaissance of the baseball golden age myth: having queens (mets) Brooklyn (rays or someone else) vs the Bronx/Manhattan (Yankees) duke it out for bragging rights. No other sports league could top that rivalry.

    -Brooklyn is also compelling for the following reasons:
    -The three way borough rivalry will make $$$$$$ for baseball huge tv ratings in the area (even more new watchers) and across the country.
    -Brooklyn would be rivals also with teams that stretch the coasts. Could u imagine the Brooklyn Atlantics/Robins playing a world series against the dodgers!!!! what sports story could top that,??? or how about a 3 game series with the former new york giants now san fransisco giants? the brooklyn team would have 4 natural rivals!! all possibly intense.
    -Having a team in san antonio or charlotte make sense so does vancouver and portland. But for most of those cities, the risk is too high if the team sucks. If u put a team in brooklyn, u would never have to worry about the team moving again. The team would have a very very high tier valuation (close to a billion dollars) and adding a bk team would make the value of the other teams go up, once more interest in the city baseball rivalries return.
    -Has there ever been a team that has been written about that doesn’t exist anymore as much as the dodgers? Probably not. Historical interest in brooklyn baseball has always been high since the team left.
    -Puts the chances of a large market being in the world series at a higher rate, and checks the yankees spending powers possibly a little bit. But these are moot points, a brooklyn team would make millions for baseball and be worth billions to owners and be a priceless bum in the middle of a new brooklyn.

    Brooklyn has to be the first choice.

  35. Just to through it out there, I am all for small markets, but brooklyn makes so much sense. Philly having the A’s back would be sick, but a new AT&T like ball park in oakland would be sicker than leaving the bay for san jose.

  36. Brooklyn has 2.5 million residents, a booming local economy, its proximity to nyc, queens nj etc. Its a very diverse city. A stadium by coney island would be amazing!!!!

  37. Really California, 5 teams already one more would be over kill.
    Not New York, two teams in the city already with the solid fan base for both of the teams. The third one would never have a fan,that where the hell are going to build a stadium in Brk are you going to claim public domain like the Yankees did, not Buffalo either.
    Not San Antonio two teams in the state already the Astros who have been struggling and the Rangers who have come out of nowwhere since the Astros went to crap. Look if one team in TX is good the other one sucks.
    Not Vegas, hello why are there not any pro teams already there. One, it’s a tourist spot and even if there are a large number of ppl living there they all work for the tourist. When would they have time to attend a game, especially 80 plus games a year? You would not build a solid fan base. Most of your attendance would be tourist and the rest would be the Vegas transplants that moved there to get a job and are still fans of the city they left. There are very few ppl that live in Vegas that are third, fourth, fifth generation citizens. People move in and out of that place like crazy.
    Not New Orleans, you have to let go of the Katrina thing, they can barely hold on to basketball.
    Portland, I’ll go for it.
    Montreal or Vancouver ????? eeeehhhhhh, last resort. Nashville not Memphis.
    Orlando, really, really who thinks of these places. While we’re at it let’s put a team in Ft Worth or Yonkers or Tacoma or Austin or Pasadena. You want to talk about TV markets look how many times you would have to split FL or NY if you expanded there and the MLB is willing to do that. In the case of Orlando, Brooklyn and Sacramento too much of a good thing can kill you and your franchise

    Look, I understand revenue and TV markets and money, money, money and that is all the league and owners look at. How about you look at this. Where is baseball the most prominate and I’m talking about the lowest level. Little League and Babe Ruth League. Then you work your way up to the HS and American Legion level and then the Collegiate level. Also look at your demographic of where a large % of your players come from. You have one city already named that would be great. Mexico City, probably not going to happen until Mexico can get a grip on the drug and gang issue. In the U.S. besides Portland or Nashville how about Indy or Oklahoma City or one of the Carolinas and outside the U.S. what about San Juan, PR. They are a territory of the U.S. not another country really. Look at how many players come from there already and the fans you would have in the isles.

    What I would love to see is one of the leagues help and expansion team owned by military vets. You will not find a group of men and women more passionate about sports. Most of us make excellent business men and women, were once athletes ourselves and care more about the cause (fans) than about money. In this society it would be a good thing for fans of the game to see an owner or group of owners not just out for greed.

    Let’s all just hope that MLB can make good decisions that are in the best interest of the fans not themselves.

  38. Salt Lake City would be my #1 pick, Las Vegas #2, Portland #3 . . . not the least reason for which is that I’d like to move to those areas, and one drawback to it is at the moment is no MLB. I think it’s a better idea to bring major league baseball to states/areas of the country that do not have any nearby team yet, even if they’re slightly smaller cities (so we should even consider Billings, Rapid City, etc.). It would also do baseball good because it will help broaden the fan base. NYC, California, Texas, Florida, etc.? I don’t think new teams in those states will create that many more fans for the sport. For NYC, people who are presently Yankees or Mets fans would go over to the new team. It’s not going to lead to a bunch of folks who previously paid little attention to baseball suddenly caring about the sport. A team in an otherwise baseball-deprived area probably would create new fans.

    Also, travel would be more of a bear, but how about a team in Fairbanks or Anchorage? Honolulu? Or San Juan, Puerto Rico?

  39. I think Portland would be an excellent choice for all the reasons you mentioned.This was a great read. I am constantly searching for articles related to expansion/relocation and this has to be the best I have found. I think you are right on in your analysis and I really hope you are correct in your prediction of expansion very soon.

    The AL West would be the perfect fit for a Portland franchise, and the rivalry with Seattle would be phenomenal. The summers, with the exception of the Timbers, are a pretty boring stretch for sports fans here without the Blazers playing. MLB would be the perfect option. We get some of the best TV ratings for MLB, even better than some markets that have MLB teams. I know the stadium situation is not as ideal as it once was with Jeld-Wen Field now not being baseball compatible for a short term home, but with the right owner as you mentioned above, that may not be an issue. Also, it really does not rain that much here, especially in the summers. Ok, it rains quite a bit, but the summers are really nice.

    I would love to here any updates on any rumblings you here about expansion.

  40. Brooklyn would be a good choice and Montreal ought to get another chance. The history in DC, Milwaukee, KC, Seattle, etc. shows that cities do better as baseball cities the second time around. they know what they’ve lost.

    The player talent is there. As a percentage of the available population, there are fewer players today than 50-60 years ago.

    They could expand rosters, add two clubs, raise the mound, and get rid of the DH. Also, expanding creates 16 clubs in each league, which allows for nice, compact 4-5team divisions. This allows more out-of-division play while still emphasizing divisional rivalries. And you could minimize or end interleague play, which, except for certain rivalries, isn’t doing much for attendance or ratings.

    Expanding would be the traditionalist thing to do.

  41. Naming new teams could be fun, too.

  42. I’m surprised nobody ever mentions Austin, Tex. One of the largest cities in the country without a sport in any major league. Booming, vibrant – why is Austin not on any league’s radar?

    • The biggest reason why Austin will never have a pro team of any kind is simple, The University of Texas. The ones who run UT also run Austin. They all have a power and control issue is the simplest way I can put it. The best example I can give, look at the disolve of the SWC and the creation of the Big 12 and now the reason schools are leaving and noone is begging to get in. How many ppl know how many other colleges are in Austin besides UT? If UT is not in control and at the center of attention in the area or sports then it will never be considered. All taxpayer money goes to UT right now and all levels of Board Members will not sacrifice that to the school. Right now UT holds the Board of Regents not only for the schools in the state but also in the Big 12. The largest schools control the BoR, call the shots and say where the money is going. Austin will never have a pro level team because of UT.

    • It may be booming, as Thomas Beck said, but it’s still not big enough for a major sports team. And quite frankly, a good chunk of people in Austin are hipsters, the last demographic you’d try to lasso into anything sports-related, unless the vendors sell Pabst Blue Ribbon. I should know, since I live here. As I said, San Antonio would be a much more viable option.

  43. Looks like a Charlotte website sent a bunch of people over to lobby for a team. If Charlotte (which is in braves country), ever got a team, it’s games would be mainly attended by opposing teams fans. Look at the panthers! It’s like they play on the road even at home. There are more people there for the other team than there are for the panthers. It’s embarrassing. Baseball would be no different. It’s NASCAR country! Hopefully baseball won’t expand in my lifetime. The game is fine as it is.

    • Charlotte would have decent fans if their teams were any good. The Bobcats even sell shirts that say “Playoffs 2008.” The Panthers fans are regaining interest now that the Panthers have a good quarterback in Cam Newton, and aren’t 2-14. Charlotte has a lot of baseball fans too, and they have fans for a wide variety of teams, not just the Braves. And honestly, you can’t have the greatest fans in the NBA if you’re 7-59. It’s not NASCAR country. The NASCAR fans live in redneck country outside of the metro area.

  44. New Orleans and Montreal have the advantage that they already have stadiums. Olympic Stadium in Montreal is still standing and the Super Dome in New Orleans can seat up to 60,000 for a baseball field.

    Brooklyn for the tradition (in that case we may has well throw in Providence, Rhode Island, who hosted the Grays for 12 years and achieved 11 seasons above .500 and 2 pre-1903 “World Series” titles).

    San Juan can make things interesting. Especially if Puerto Rico ever becomes independent.

    Because of proximity I’d say Monterrey or Chihuahua have a better chance than Mexico City, but not by much due to the drug war at this point. It would be more harmful to baseball if its found out that the MLB had to pay protection to a drug lord to prevent a game from getting bombed (and that’s a best case scenario). I could see them in the future becoming a relocation site.

    Any other city in the United States or Canada you consider I would say need at least a metropolitian population of about a million just to sustain general interest.

  45. Charlotte, NC is the best place for a MLB baseball Team lot’s of $$$$$$$$$ biggest city in the South East, we love baseball her, many MLB players retire here. My whole family would be season ticket holders.

  46. Why not Syracuse NY it may not be verry populated but its in the middle of Rochester, Binghamton, Buffalo, Albany, Elmira, Cortland, and Ithica. with all those cities near Syracuse and the amount of mets, yankees, phillies, and blue jays fans in the area it wouldnt be such a bad idea.

  47. If u put a team In brooklyn, I promise, baseball will back in the limelight: how come no one is willing to adress this idea. Putting a team in brooklyn will create cross-country rivalries with the dodgers and giants+ mets and Yankees local. Could You imagine being in nyc during the summer? it would be the new golden age!

    brooklyn=$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    • Joseph. You make a very strong point. A team in Brooklyn would be fantastic. I hope we get to see it happen sir. Thank you for writing in and for reading the Reports!

  48. I’m all for this idea. makes sense to me plus eliminates everyday interleague.

  49. new jersey should be included!!!!!

  50. oklahoma city is growing good money

  51. Those of you who discount Brooklyn because NYC already has two teams are not factoring in that NYC has 8 million people, not including the surrounding suburbs of Long Island, NJ and CT. Brooklyn by itself would be the 4th largest city in the U.S. with 2.5 million people and has great public transportation already built in. Just compare the population of NYC vs. that of other cities, including those with two teams and it should be clear that NYC can easily support 3 teams. And like a previous commenter said, it would generate increased interest. The Yankees attendance actually decreased the year after the Dodgers and Giants left for the west coast. As for NJ, it works for football with its 8 home games, but the transportation infrastructure isn’t there to support a baseball team that plays many of its games at night during the week.

  52. First of all, New Orleans has 10,000 NBA season ticket holders, which is in the top half of the NBA, This despite a 14-40 record, the selling off all their best players over the last 4 years, completely inept management, and a two year NBA – occupation of our franchise. This team just signed a new lease with Louisiana for the next 12 years, a 50 million dollar arena renovation, and a new owner and probably re-brand (finally shedding the “hornets” name, hopefully) are all on the horizon. The NBA will succeed in New Orleans, it just took a change in ownership/management. Trading Tyson Chandler for Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith and selling off 1st round picks in 3 of 7 years will turn off the most passionate of fans. I feel for the Charlotte Hornets fans, because George Shinn is absolutely the worst owner in the history of sports. He almost killed the same franchise in two cities in a 10 year span.

    That being said, i don’t think New Orleans can support an NBA team today. In 5-10 years, I think it would be a huge success here. NOLA is growing at an alarming fast pace, reaching an estimated 80% of the pre-Katrina population in 2012. Many of the city residents simply relocated to the suburbs, or to Baton Rouge (45 min drive), as the population numbers of those areas have well eclipsed pre-Katrina numbers. The unemployment rate in New Orleans hovers near 6%, well below the national average. Mayor Landrieu has implemented several programs aimed at shifting the economy of the city to a tech/med/biotech focus, diversifing from the tourism-heavy economy of the past. The new University Medical Center, which will be patterned after MD Anderson in Houston, has already broken ground and is on schedule to be completed by 2015. GE just agreed to move it’s one and only tech center to New Orleans, bringining an estimated 300 six figure jobs to the downtown area. The tax breaks provided by the state has made New Orleans the city with the 3rd most films shot, behind only Los Angeles and New York City. The new charter school system and state public education reform has increased the performance of the students 30% from pre-katrina levels. NO set records for most toursim dollars spent, most visitors, and most conventions hosted in 2011. The goal is that by 2018 there will be an average of 18 million visitors a year to the city.

    That being said, we are still 4 or 5 years away from being able to support an MLB team. If the Hornets situation plays out the way we think it will, and the MLB starts to talk re-lo in 5-10 years as opposed 2-3, New Orleans wil be a viable place.

  53. Excuse me, I meant can’t support an MLB team today. sorry.

  54. I must agree David. New Orleans would be a great fit for MLB. I’ve grown up half my life there, and since Katrina, the city has changed so much! Being a Saints, and Hornets fan, if MLB gave us a team, the fan loyality would be priceless. Besides, I think MLB needs alil creole spice in it!

  55. Interesting discussion. A few observations: Brooklyn will never happen because it would directly dilute the Yankee’s fan base. A third NYC team would be great for baseball and cut against the Yankee’s anti-competitive advantage of being the team with the largest fan base in the country’s largest city and largest media market. Small market teams, like Milwaukee for example, have a natural base of about 5 million fans. The Yankees have 1/2 of the 14 million in the NYC region, plus all the free publicity that comes with being the bigger team in the NYC area. Something like 1/2 of all MLB merchandise is Yankee branded, a lot of it sold as generic NYC branded fashion in places that don’t care at all about baseball. A third team, especially a throwback lovable Brooklyn team, would help undercut this and be fantastic for baseball in general and the AL East in particular, but the Yankees will do everything they can to stop it. Won’t happen.

    Another Florida team: Terrible idea. The Rays are one of the best franchises in baseball and they don’t get enough support. In the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the least supported.

    Havana would be great an amazing political gesture after the Castros finally die off, but I doubt MLB has the patience to wait out losses for a few decades until Cuban economic rebirth occurred. This would be the feel good choice for all time.

    NC: Raleigh or Charlotte would make sense. It’s a growing area with a lot of new wealth. It’d be a safe bet and could be a front runner if a good ownership group stepped up.

    Portland: Would also be a front runner if the right ownership stepped up. But after MLS entered Portland, I’d bet the odds for this are lower. Nike Field featuring Portland area craft beers and organic free range hot dogs would be fun, though. I’d have to instantly become one of the funnest sporting events in the world. It also feeds into the idea of MLB success being smaller urban parks that sell out and provide great fan experiences in contrast to the NFL model of massive TV audiences.

    Of all the said markets, I think the most business savvy long-term is Vancouver. Vancouver is second only to NYC and Toronto as the most international city in North America. It’s connections to the Pacific Rim countries are the best in North America. Since you can’t actually place a team in Seoul or Tokyo, a Vancouver team would be one of the easiest ways to try and expand MLB’s television ratings Westward over the Pacific. The NBA screwed up the potential in Vancouver with one of the worst teams, terrible draft picks, and the NBA lockout. David Stern’s failure could be MLB’s gain.

    Chances of a Vancouver Grizzles style failure are quite low. They already have a stadium, they have the best baseball players in Canada (think Justin Morneau) in the area, and they have the population density and population base to ensure a large number of fans have easy access to games, fitting into baseball’s developing urban park model (discussed for Portland). They’d also expand baseball TV markets in Western Canada and have built in rivalries with the Blue Jays and Seattle. Last but not least, unlike a few other cities listed, Vancouver’s growth rate is expanding rapidly, as is its overall impression and prestige internationally. A baseball team there now could pay off huge long term.

  56. Indianapolis!!

  57. RALEIGH all the way. Perfect location centralized between DC and Atlanta. Could pull fans from Charlotte all the way to Virginia Beach. The metropolis has 1.7 million population (2010 est.) and is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Charlotte is getting saturated with two teams. Raleigh has room to expand and has really supported our Hockey franchise. It’s time for MLB in NC and I think Raleigh can make it work. Heck, as someone else mentioned let’s just upgrade the Durham Bulls to MLB!

  58. Oklahoma City.

    With the success of the Thunder and the lack of resident $ going towards OSU and OU baseball, OK would be primed for a big league club. One minor league team may have to go or suffer. Oh well

  59. Charlotte NC
    Should be one of the 2 cities that MLB expand to if it expands in the next few years the city itself has almost 800,000 people the metro area really is about 2,500,000. I do not know why Iredell County which is almost in Charlotte and includes Statesville and Mooresville 2 of Charlotte’s fastest growing suburbs and Lancaster County in SC which literally comes right up in Charlotte is not included in the Metro count and I did not even mention Catawba County which is also right next to Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County and have almost 170,000 people. Charlotte’s CSA is a more accurate account of Charlotte’s Metro which is 2,442.000 people according to this year Census for July 2011 and 2,402,000 for the census taken in 2010.. Charlotte is really the heart or (the capital) of the Carolinas as it set right on the North and South Carolina border and within a 100 mile radius is almost 8,000,000 people “the 5th largest urban center in the USA” (look it up) and that do not include Raleigh NC as it is 140 miles away. It is the Second Largest Banking Center in the USA, it is going to host the Democratic National Convention this summer in 2012.
    Also did I mention Charlotte was in the mist of investing 1Billion Dollars in It’s airport which is already the 8 busiest in the world. See Charlotte Observer 04/15/2012 article investing in the airport. To the person who wrote earlier that this is Atlanta territory no, NO WAY Georgia is Atlanta territory. The Carolinas Baseball Team belong in Charlotte NC. Oh by the way did I mention there are 14,200,000 in the Carolinas, we Charlotte need MLB.

  60. I think they should do Vegas, and Charlotte. That way they fill some spots in areas without teams. What are the chances of Charlotte getting picked and is Vegas a lock pretty much?

  61. Robert Steckne

    Charlotte and Vegas are the two best to pick but I bet it will be Portland and San Antonio.

  62. deepinthehollow

    I love the topic of expansion. Its exciting and lets you get creative. However this list has some problems. Coming from a family where my father has worked in baseball front offices for the past 35 years I have gathered a fair amount of knowledge in this category. Most of the cities mentioned already have some type of baseball most at the AAA level. Yes a MLB team can move into that market and displace the former team, but then they have to find another cimlty to move to which isn’t exactly east with almost every viable city taken. With that in mind Las Vegas, Sacramento, Memphis, Nashville, San Antonio, Brooklyn, and New Orleans are then eliminated. Leaving Portland, Mexico City, Orlando, and Montreal has the only options left. You can then eliminate Mexico City because players wouldn’t play there because of crime and the fact they would be paid in pesos like Blue Jays players are paid in Canadian dollars. Orlando can be emlinated because the Marlins and Rays already struggle, and most of Floria is “baseballed” out by June because of Spring Training. Leaving you with only 2 seriously viable options with Portland and Montreal. However Seattle would try to block Portland, that’s when you then copy the Baltimore/
    Washington model with Baltimore a guaranteed selling price and the creation of MASN. A little complicated, but doable. Montreal would still have baseball if Loria hadn’t driven it into the ground. But they would need a new stadium and Montreal is still having problems with Olympic Stadium so the city is already weary of stadiums. Overall Portland and Montreal are the best 2I options.

  63. Raleigh/Durham could suport a team. Plenty of advertising money, a long tradition of the Bulls since 1902, lots of NE and California newbies, the Carolinas have thier own LEAGUE they support, lots of sports fans in general (basketball, football, NHL and the MLS is considering the area for a soccer franchise now). Atlanta is the default team but it’s eight hours away while DC is four. Littele league baseball is exploding with new familys that love the fact that they can now play almost all year long. They’ve also proven they can support an NHL franchise. They could ‘upgrade’ the Bulls or take the Rays.

    Brooklyn’s a dream because the Bombers & Mutts would have to agree on it…and they will not. Same goes for NJ, Yonkers & Long Island. They’ve got it good and they know it.

    Buffalo could work. Portland has a chance and I know NOTHING about Austin but that seems like a hungry area on paper. Not many mentions about on this thread.

    All in all, if it were MY money? I’d bet on the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill ‘Triangle’ to be most successful.

  64. Charlotte is breaking ground on a brand new stadium for the AAA Charlotte Knights. If MLB hurries, we can expand that stadium for the Blue Jays, Rays, expansion team, etc.

  65. Oklahoma City has shown great pride and very good attendance sine getting the Thunder in the NBA. I think the sports fans and the city deserves another pro team.

  66. What do you guys think about the Hamilton,Ontario area?

  67. I like the Hamilton Ontario area

  68. vancouver or nashville it could be called the nashville guitars because nashville is the music city

  69. I like the idea of a team in Montana. Maybe Billings. The Billings Mustangs averaged more than 2,800 people a game in 2010. Great Falls voyagers got more than 2,700 a game. These are both just ROOKIE-LEVEL clubs. Imagine how big a pro team would be. I think we would see this become a huge baseball state. Can you tell me ur thoughts on this?

  70. Can you guys tell me and update on the cities in the lead for expansion teams and when it may happen?

  71. jessicamonroe555

    I think it’s time to reopen this discussion now that the postseason field has also been expanded. It would only make sense to even the divisions now. Make eight divisions of four. Why not? I’m not sure I agree with you about the cities that should get the new franchises though. Las Vegas seems like a great pick but so does New Orleans and what about Indianapolis? http://www.ranker.com/list/cities-that-should-have-a-baseball-team/the-round-mound has a few more options and some good arguments for these cities and others, including Canadian cities, which is a whole nother discussion that I won’t get into right now.

  72. One team should go to Oklahoma. It has a strong baseball community and would have alot of room to build.

  73. What bout Honolulu? Great summer attendance with all the vacationers. Location is bad but they could figure it out. Population of about 1.2 mil in Honoulu but they could pull from all the other cities on that island.

  74. I’ve noticed that the “natural” opposite league rival for the Blue Jays is the Braves. It just falls that way. Yanks play Mets. Red Sox play Phillies. Cards play Royals, etc. BUT Blue Jays/Braves get stuck w/ each other. Just going on that, would be nice to give those two cities a true natural rival. How ’bout Buffalo/Rochester/Syracuse,NY OR back to Montreal for the ‘Jays. …and for the Braves….Raleigh/Durham,NC, Birmingham,AL, or Baton Rouge,LA.

  75. Timothy Frith

    MLB will add 2 expansion teams in Montreal and Sacramento.

  76. Oklahoma City is growing and would be a good fit for a MLB team.

  77. Charlotte,N.C call them the redhawks,hornets,or knights for the mlb expansion team…
    second choice,Portland,or Oklahoma city..

  78. Please..No team in Montreal or sacramento….Move the Washington Nationals to Saltlake city.
    The three possible cities for Baseball Expansion,Charlotte,Oklahoma city,Portland,and no expansion team in Brooklyn!!

  79. My idea of an all Canadian division got shot down a while back on another post; but I can still dream it. The four expansion cities would be Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Edmonton. Jays would move out of the AL East. I think putting that division in the National League would be better; but not sure the Jays would go for that. Then add a team in Hartford, western NY (Buffalo,Rochester,Syracuse), or New Jersey to replace the Jays.

    The Rays need to be in Tampa. The A’s should just go to Sacramento. That seems like the simplest thing to do.

    Now the other league needs another 5 team division. An Asian division? I get the feeling lately that the bigger pro league in Japan (Central league is running the show over there) would rather not compete directly with MLB. They’re even threatening to boycott the WBC, again. Three teams in Japan and two in Korea would be perfect; but that’s a BIGGER pipe dream than having a division in Canada. SK Wyverns and Lotte Giants (easily change to Busan Seagulls) in Korea; and in Japan….maybe one team for each of the 3 biggest islands. Could be Hokkaido Fighters, Fukuoka Hawks, and Seibu Lions. I know. Pure fantasy.

    A southern division of Omaha,NE; Baton Rouge,LA; Birmingham,AL; Durham,NC; and Louisville, KY. Sorry, I just dont see Portland or San Antonio as baseball towns. I do think those two could be future NFL cities, though.

    Oh, for the guy who said baseball cant expand because there are not enough minor league cities to fill in the losses taken from teams entering the big league…. Well, at last count, there are at least 56 independent pro teams in America without any affiliation to MLB. And that number is rising. Plus 16 teams in Mexico w/o any affiliation who have been given AAA status.

  80. Greensboro NC would be a great spot for a team. The Triad metro area boasts about 1.6 million people and is only an hour from Raleigh and Charlotte. Charlotte metro boasts 2.5 million people. The Triangle metro area boasts about 1.7 million people. So you’re talking access to 5.8 million people within a hour to an hour and a half drive. MLB is foolish if they don’t consider NC in general…I would strongly consider Greensboro or Charlotte. While Raleigh can support a team on it’s own most likely, you’d hate to put a team in NC that far away from Charlotte.

  81. North Carolina NEEDS a baseball team, there is so much demand. Charlotte would be the obvious choice. They could be called the Carolina Kings (because Charlotte is the queen city). Not only would they have a huge NC market but a South Carolina market as well.

  82. How about the Charlotte yellow hawks???

  83. How about san antonio…Call them the san antonio vipers????? and for Charlotte..the Charlotte coyotes??

    • I’d prefer calling the San Antonio team The Aces…In part due to all the Air Force bases there (where if you shoot down five enemy planes in a dogfight you’re considered an ace) and an Old West theme where the Ace is a playing card. Charlotte Coyotes, sounds good but people tend to view the coyote as a desert animal. Plus the Phoenix NHL Franchise my pitch a fit. I’d go with a more historical theme, like when the first NBA Franchise in Charlotte was named the Hornets.

    • I think that might work. Good idea

  84. Move the Braves back to Boston, Atlanta is the worst sports town in America! That would be sick! I cannot understand why there aren’t that many crosstown rivalries in America. There are so many in European soccer! Imagine a Philadelphia v. Philadelphia game!
    Here what I would do:
    1) Move the Braves to Boston
    2) Add a Philly team
    3) Add a team in Norfolk
    4) Add a team in Puerto Rico and maybe Havana
    5) Possibly a second St Louis team, use the old Brown Sox name

  85. Summerville SC

  86. San Juan… makes sense to me. Passion for the sport. Lots of local history regarding baseball. The fact that the Expos did well during their games down there. The ease of travel to and from the island…

  87. I think Charlotte, Portland, and Austin are the three most realistic scenarios. It’s all about a city’s disposable income and those three have the most.

    • Hi John,

      Portland would be a good choice with population base and spending too match. it is all about the stadiums for expansion. All 3 of your teams don’t have a Major League ready stadium to use. In fact, only Vancouver BC Canada has ‘ready now’ facility that could host. MLB will look to try and work out the Oakland/SanJose Project for a PARK and the Rays need for a New MLB Park before they expand anyway.

  88. I think that either Brooklyn or Mexico City needs an MLB team. Mexico City-so MLB can be truly international; Brooklyn-so NYC can go back to the three-team format.

  89. MLB back in Brooklyn interests me. But NOT an expansion team. A Brooklyn baseball team needs to start a rivalry with the Mets quickly–move an existing team to Brooklyn. The Toronto Blue Jays are a good candidate–get them out of Canada and onto a natural grass playing field. Realign them to the NL: the Washington Nats can go to the AL and have a supercharged rivalry with Baltimore as the Orioles are making a good comeback.

  90. I have lived in Indianapolis my entire life, and I love the Colts and Pacers. But there are a few problems with putting Major League Baseball in Indianapolis.

    A) I don’t think we’re big enough to support yet another sports franchise consistently, especially when the team is not performing well. When the Pacers or the Colts have down years, they have a hard time selling tickets. Even when the Pacers made the playoffs last year, attendance was still spotty during the regular season.

    B) If we were to get an MLB franchise, I suspect the public would insist on the team playing in Lucas Oil Stadium rather than building a new venue. We have sports venue burnout here. Unfortunately, when they built Victory Field for the Indians, they didn’t invest the few dollars into making it expandable for an MLB team, and it doesn’t have enough seats as it is today. I prefer watching minor league baseball because it’s affordable, fun and family-friendly. Every MLB game I have attended has felt way too serious.

    C) There are A LOT of other MLB teams in close proximity: the Cubs, White Sox, Reds, Tigers, Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians are all within reasonable driving distance. It would be cool if we could get an All-Star Game at Lucas Oil Stadium, but I don’t think it makes sense to have an MLB franchise of our own.

  91. I have a good name how about the Charlotte Copperheads..for the second team expansion..the Des Moines Coyotes…..

  92. Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Pheonix are all bigger metros than San Francisco-Oakland. Brooklyn is also a viable choice. Why not expand in one those places and forget about growing mid markets like Charlotte, San Antonio, and Indianapolis.

    And Oklahoma City, get real. It’s closer to Arlington than San Antonio is by about 80 miles and about half the size (San Antonio-Austin is 3x larger).

    • Michael Siever

      The idea of the expansion is to bring MLB teams to cities that do not already have them and have a big enough crowd for it. All of those cities already have MLB teams. In fact, Brooklyn already has the Yankees and the Mets just across the bridge. If they gamble, get a team that sucks its first 2-5 seasons, people will just give up on them and then go back to the Yankees, Mets, Phillies, etc.

      San Antonio is an ideal market for those residing in South/Central Texas that don’t want to have to drive 3-5 hours to catch the Astros or Rangers. Plus, San Antonio is a military town, so you’ve already got a large target crowd for it. I live in Austin, and it is already monopolized by UT sports, so any kind of major league sports have a snowball’s chance in Hell with Austin. Plus, there are too many hipsters in Austin, who are not exactly the target crowd for MLB. Unless you serve up Natty Light or PBR at the stadium, and play obscure music that nobody’s heard of, they aren’t coming.

  93. I’m a former Austin resident myself and I see your point about San Antonio (and hipsters). What I’m not sold on is expanding to smaller cities.

    It seems to me if the MLB wants to rekindle its fan base, making more two team cities makes more sense as it gives residents a reason to argue with each other over which team to support. Anything that gets more people talking about baseball is a plus, especially in areas that are poised to be super cities by the end of the 21st century.

    Besides, how many people have to live in a Dallas, Pheonix, etc. before they are two team cities? 8 million? 10 million? At least one of those metros will likely be at those numbers before Oklahoma City reaches 750,000 within its city limits.

    The number of residents of Houston is already close to the size of the Dodgers share of the L.A. area. Why should the Astros get to keep that kind of protection from a competing fan base?

  94. the South has huge baseball hole. You can drive all the way from Mississippi to Virginia and only pass through one state that has a team (Georgia). Someone living in North Carolina can either drive two states south to watch the Braves or two states north to watch the Orioles. That’s pathetic. If the MLB doesnt fill in that whole that they are giving up on a whole market.

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