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Must-click link: ranking the possible relocation and expansion markets

Nov 13, 2012, 3:03 PM EDT

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About once I year I link to a story about some plan in a non-MLB town to lure a baseball team. The plan is almost always a pipe dream and there’s always a fatal flaw.  Then, in the comments, someone says that it’s a no-brainer to move a team to Las Vegas. Then I write a post explaining why I think Las Vegas is a horrible idea for a major league team. Then we go round and round.

Maury Brown has a post up at Baseball Prospectus today that should save us all some time. In it he ranks the top potential destinations for a relocating major league team, listing the stats, the pros and the cons.  It’s a pretty comprehensive list of candidates.

And guess what: Las Vegas isn’t at the top. Guess what else: the only truly workable one — as I’ve noted before — is the New York metro area, and that’s not really workable given MLB’s anti-competitive territory system. So it really doesn’t look like there are any great landing spots.

But at least with Maury’s piece we now have a good one-stop resource for our arguing purposes.

  1. losangelesfan - Nov 13, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Memphis Blues or how ’bout Buffalo Wings?

    • yahmule - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:43 PM

      Buffalo deserved a franchise the last time MLB expanded.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      Memphis = solidly Cards territory
      Buffalo = pissing match from Toronto and the NY teams

  2. nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 13, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    As someone alluded to after the earlier post, forget any day games during the summer. You would have to wait until evening when it “cools off” to 110 F. The F stands for both Fahrenheit and Forget it. Has anyone thought about putting an MLB team in Montreal? It would be great! What? Really? Oh.

    • losangelesfan - Nov 13, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      They’d have to have a dome in Vegas. Kinda like Phoenix.

      • yahmule - Nov 13, 2012 at 4:56 PM

        A dome would be necessary, but it wouldn’t matter very much. MLB wouldn’t draw flies in this front running town. I’ve lived here 21 years, but will thankfully be moving to Colorado before I have to endure a 22nd Las Vegas summer.

  3. Max Power - Nov 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    When I was in college my roommate’s dad worked for the State Department. I told him they ought to work with MLB to guarantee Cuba two major league teams a year after their first free and fair national election. He said it was a good idea and then promptly did nothing at all with it. And that’s how we lost Cuba in the mid-1990s.

  4. cur68 - Nov 13, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    He lists Montreal. Home of my beloved Expos. I wish he’d considered Vancouver instead. THe Vancouver Mighty Beavers. It has a certain ring to it, eh?

    • losangelesfan - Nov 13, 2012 at 6:14 PM

      That’s a damn fine idea and a damn fine name.

  5. indaburg - Nov 13, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    When I look at Brown’s list of cities and their pros and cons, I wonder how Tampa Bay ever got a baseball team.

    • APBA Guy - Nov 13, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      I’m surprised he didn’t look at Orlando for relocation. Though the real location would probably be Kissimmee, somewhere that could draw the tourist, Tampa, and Orlando baseball fans.

      • indaburg - Nov 13, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        Yeah, Orlando/Kissimmee is a possibility. The Rays played a series there back in 2008 at the spring training home of the Braves and if I remember correctly, they drew well while sweeping the Jays. That was before the Rays were recognized as good. For selfish reasons, I would prefer the Channelside area of Tampa (next door to where the Lightning play), but as long as the team exists, I’ll root for them. I don’t want to hear any foolish contraction talk.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:47 PM

        Contraction ain’t happening; it would cost MLB billions in value and lost revenue, plus they’d have the headache of negotiating some sort of settlement with the MLBPA over the loss of 40 MLB players per franchise contracted.

        Every time this topic comes up, I state that the NY area is the only non-Tampa/Orlando area option that would not leave them a small market team, and the teams there would not allow it. The Rays’ best bet is to stay in FL.

  6. dwrek5 - Nov 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    With the NFL and NBA trying to go global, it would be nice to see MLB shove it their a$$ with a team in Puerto Rico or Mexico.

  7. pmcenroe - Nov 13, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    I can’t believe this never occured to me and I know its a MAJOR pipe dream but how cool would it be to have a new team called the New Jersey Knickbockers and they play at a brand new Elysian Field.

  8. stairwayto7 - Nov 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Move Tampa and Marlins out of Florida and add 2 expansion teasm and be liek the NFL. Eight 4 team divisions. Put teams in Charolette, SanAntonio, OKC and Portland/Northern Cali.

  9. Jackson Scofield - Nov 13, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    They made a mistake as they listed two major league teams for Montreal, Canadiens and Alouettes but forgot Impact

  10. kkolchak - Nov 13, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Expansion ought to be off the table anyway. Thirty teams is plenty given the relative dearth of of MLB quality talent. As for relocation, it would just be another city ripping off its own taxpayers to give a billionaire owner a huge undeserved payday.

    All in all, the status quo doesn’t look so bad.

    • yahmule - Nov 13, 2012 at 7:42 PM

      Expansion is the great satan.

  11. mrwillie - Nov 13, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    NC had our chance back in 98 when there was a vote for building a stadium to lure the Twins to the area. Needless to say it didn’t happen, and I doubt anyone will try again in the foreseeable future.

    Would have been great to have a team 10 mins from my house, but they surely would have never been competitive, monetarily, in this market. I’ll just make do with our two minor league clubs….beer is cheaper there anyways.

  12. Jackson Scofield - Nov 13, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Someone should tell them that the MetroStars are now called the New York Red Bulls.

    • Jeremy T - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      Which, if I cared about MLS or soccer at all, would irritate me to no end. If the energy drink didn’t exist, it might actually be a decent name, but selling your team’s naming rights seems like just about the most desperate, money-grubbing move a so-called “professional” sports team could make. Can you imagine what would happen if a baseball team tried to pull that crap?

  13. klink6224 - Nov 13, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Waterfront Park in Trenton is a wonderful stadium Great for minor league games and championship high school games but even for 1 season of MLB games would be a joke. I know the writer wasnt really offering that as a legit scenario but I can’t imagine. Homers to left field would literally kill people hitting cars as they drive by

  14. schmedley69 - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Very interesting. If history is any indicator, the Washington franchise will once again uproot and move to another city. It will be interesting to see where they land.

  15. simon94022 - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    If history is any guide, teams from Boston, Philadelphia, New York and St. Louis will once again uproot. It will be interesting to see where they land.

    Good thing that kind of history isn’t much of a guide.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:05 PM

      Not to forget Milwaukee and Seattle.

  16. sincitybonobo - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Clark County, Nevada, covering a vast land area, reached the two million mark in population a couple of years ago. This includes the nearby suburbs of Henderson and North Las Vegas. A unique hurdle to Vegas- other than the public financing of a domed stadium- is the large percentage of the working population that works nights.

    Vegas attracts nearly 40 million visitors per year. But, there is no shortage of competition for the entertainment dollar and it is unclear how enthusiastic or welcome gaming companies would be in terms of advertising, etc.

    If it were to work, MLB would likely insist that Nevada sportsbooks voluntarily refuse to book action on the local team. By the end of the decade, the population will only grow and the distance away from the nearest MLB stadium is a definite plus.

    Looking at the stats, I was surprised how good Sacramento’s numbers looked. It’s been perhaps the best AAA market for the past decade or more and may provide the A’s a better option than Oakland. Charlotte looks solid, as well.

    Quick trivia question- The US town in the lower 48 states furthest away from any MLB stadium is located in what state? Answer: Google Brian Schweitzer

  17. bh0673 - Nov 14, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    NJ without question could support a major league team even though the Mets, Yankees would balk but there are so many people who are afraid to travel in New York City by car and won’t ride subways to get to either stadium ( Bronx or Queens) except on the occasional bus trip or find the distance to Philadelphia too far that it would have zero impact on either the Met fan base or the Yankee fan base or Philly fan base.The New York city area supports 3 hockey teams, two basketball and football teams as well as the Mets and Yankees without any problem. I think if anything it could help the Yankees, Phillys and Mets by introducing baseball on the major league level to so many people who have never attended a game past the single A level.

  18. blacksables - Nov 14, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Havana and Monterrey

  19. makeham98 - Nov 14, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    No market will be successful without a huge tv deal. See Kansas City. Tampa. Then add even worse markets like Memphis. Portland. Charlotte.

    MLB expansion would go as well as NHL expansion. You might find a group of suckers to buy in only to have them fail miserably within ten years.

    You might be able to relocate an NL team to north Jersey.

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