Phillies road team, Blue Jays home team at Citizens Bank Park

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The Jays come in to Philly tonight for a three game set . . . as the home team.

You’ll recall that this little switcheroo is the result of the G-20 summit taking place in Toronto. As a result, the series that was supposed to take place in the Rogers Centre is now in Philly with the Phillies as the “visiting team” and the Jays as the “home team.”

And they’re gonna do what they can to make that fiction a reality. The Phillies will be wearing their road grays and the Jays their home whites. The DH will be used. While there’s some confusion on this point, it seems that the Blue Jays will get the majority of the gate for the series, while the Phillies still retain the concessions.

Only two things are really undercutting the suspension of disbelief as to the location of the series: the facts that (a) the Phillies players get so sleep in their own beds and have breakfast with their families; and (b) there will be 40,000 screaming Phillies fans at the games. But, sure, other than that, root-root-root for the home team . . .

And yes, I realize that the Joe Carter pic is a low blow to Phillies fans. But that was 17 years ago and you guys are getting three gratuitous home games, so I think you deal with it. Jays fans need it.

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.”