The Jays may have to reschedule some June games

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Why? Because of some people who think they’re so important just because they, like, run the entire world and everything:

The Group of 20 summit to be held in
Toronto in June may be a boon to the city’s hospitality sector but it
could be a major headache for the local baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays.

The American League team has been advised to “be aware” that the
gathering of the G20 developed and developing nations, slated to take
place in Toronto on June 26 and 27, could force the Jays to reschedule
one or more of their games.

This is serious concern. After all, you’ll recall that last year’s G-20 meeting took place in Pittsburgh while the Pirates were on a homestand.  The chaos caused by the meetings led to the Pirates-Reds game drawing the lowest attendance in the history of PNC Park.

Well, it was either the summit meeting or the fact that it was a late-September game between the Pirates and Reds. Hard to say, really.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”