On Wednesday morning Pat Williams, one of the founders of the Orlando Magic, formally threw his city’s hat in the ring for a potential expansion of Major League Baseball. He said the team would be called the Orlando Dreamers (barf) and there’s absolutely interest in MLB being in Orlando.
A couple thoughts…
First, it is intriguing that this would be a new franchise and not a relocation possibility for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Second, baseball at the major league level hasn’t worked in Florida – Tampa or Miami – yet. There has been on-field success, but no sustained attendance to indicate it’s working.
So, if MLB expands – or relocates the Rays – where should they consider for a team?
Here are my five best locations for the next MLB team.
Give me a good stadium and ownership committed to putting a quality product on the field and I’ll show you a scenario where a second team in Canada works. Montreal is a terrific market and would absolutely support a team that doesn’t play its home games in a por-o-john.
2. San Juan
If you’ve watched a Cubs game this year you saw a Chevrolet commercial featuring Javier Baez in Spanish. Puerto Rico loves baseball and some of the most exciting players in the game – Baez, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Yadier Molina – come from the island. Are they still rebuilding from Hurricane Maria? Sure. But could major league baseball work in San Juan? I, for one, believe it could – and would love to see it there.
The Music City has an NFL team and an NHL team, both of which have passionate fan bases. Is it a college and music town? Perhaps on the outside, but there’s a great market there and baseball could be the next step. Leaders in Nashville want a team, too. They have a stadium plan ready for MLB to consider.
The Portland Diamond Project has been working for years to secure a legitimate bid to bring MLB to their city. They have even lined up Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, Ciara, as investors. There’s a great potential rivalry with Seattle if they were in the American League. And Portland has a long history in the game.
Indy has been home to a Negro League team and a minor league teams for years. They faithfully and passionately support the Colts and Pacers. Would this cut into the markets of the Cubs, White Sox and Reds? Maybe. Could the city support a major league baseball team and have some potentially terrific geographic rivalries? Absolutely.