Recently there has been a lot of activity from the Portland Diamond Project, which is a group in Portland, Oregon whose mission is to build a major league ballpark for an expansion team or a relocated team. The group says it has secured land and, last November, released renderings of a stadium and all of that stuff.
The Portland group’s work coincided with an interview Rob Manfred gave last summer in which he identified it, and five other cities, as potential expansion sites. “Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Nashville in the United States, certainly Montreal, maybe Vancouver, in Canada,” Manfred said. “We think there’s places in Mexico we could go over the long haul.”
As of today there’s a city that wishes to join that group: Raleigh:
They have a website which makes the argument for Raleigh, including a part of it that explains why it, and not Charlotte, is the better option in the Carolinas. Some of the numbers there might be surprising to people who haven’t spent a lot of time in the Triangle. At the same time, the Raleigh group also fails to mention that the corporate/banking sector in Charlotte — the part of the community which buys luxury suites and pays for sponsorships and naming rights and things — is massive compared to most cities, let alone compared to Raleigh. It’s obviously a promotion site, though, not one aimed at a vigorous analysis of the matter at hand. The Raleigh group said itself in a tweet today that it’s looking to “start a conversation and galvanize support,” and that’s what the web presence is aimed at.
All of it is academic without expansion, however. Maybe the Rays will move cities one day and maybe the A’s don’t have the deal fully done on their new park in Oakland, but there is not likely to be much relocation in baseball’s near future. It’s not hard to imagine baseball going to 32 teams, though. Both because there are more cities that could support teams now than there are teams and because Major League Baseball owners love to print money in the form of expansion franchise fees, and two expansion teams are likely to put a couple billion bucks in the owners’ pockets.
Will those teams be in Raleigh? Portland? Montreal? My guess is that they’ll be in whichever city which signals that it will give the greatest gifts to the league and the new owners in the form of a stadium and other concessions. For now, though, let a dozen cites dream about it. And tweet.