Great article about Coca-Cola Field — formerly known as Pilot Field — in Buffalo. The ballpark that, back in the late 80s and early 90s, was constantly outdrawing a couple of major league teams every years.
Forgotten now was that the park was built to be expanded, with the specific intent of luring a major league team. But, as Mark Byrnes explains in The Atlantic, it was never to be:
Ownership and the city did everything it was supposed to do. It built spectacular facilities and filled it up each game those first three and a half seasons, even outdrawing two Major League teams. So when June of 1991 came and Denver and Miami were given the two expansion franchises, the city’s pursuit of big time baseball ended as deflating heartbreak to a population just months into coping with ‘Wide Right.’
It was the right thing done at the wrong time, as the economics of Major League Baseball were on the brink of a fundamental shift, and smaller cities without major media and corporate power were no longer welcome at the big boy’s table.
It’s a dynamic that, had it existed earlier, would have kept Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and a host of other cities out of Major League Baseball.