When Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred talks about expansion over relocation it is all about the money and lots of it to be sure. Adding two teams could bring nearly two billion dollars in new franchise fees which the owners are all for plus the Major League Baseball Players Association likes the idea of more jobs for players.
According to a report in The Tennessean the league will meet with a Nashville based group that is set to show why it is time they get a team.
Music City Baseball LLC managing director John Loar and former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, chairman of the group’s strategic advisory board, will travel to New York City to meet with MLB front-office personnel to discuss the process of landing a franchise in Nashville.
“As you know, to reach the goal of securing an expansion team for Nashville the work begins now,” Loar said. “By work, I mean building the foundation for the future.”
It should be noted that while both city and state lawmakers are supportive of Nashville getting a team but any new stadium would have to be privately funded.
The city already has two successful pro teams the Predators and the Titians, as well as its Major League Soccer expansion team, that are expected to begin play in 2020.
The league has identified Nashville Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, plus two of the biggest cities in Canada with the focus on Montreal and Vancouver, all hoping to one day be home to a MLB franchise.
But again just like Nashville, all of the perspective expansion or even those who might be considered as relocation candidates will have to move forward without local dollars. None of the city or state governments are offering to build stadiums, but might offer some small dollar assistance.
For now, Manfred remains focused on helping Tampa Bay and Oakland get new stadium’s before the league adds any new teams.
“Let me say this about expansion: There is, right now, no timetable for expansion other than I have to get [the] Tampa and Oakland [stadium issues] resolved before we can turn meaningfully to that topic,” Manfred said.
“We are fortunate; there are a number of cities in North America that are interested in having Major League Baseball, and at some point when Oakland and Tampa are resolved I would like to have a process that takes a really analytical look at those cities that are interested, the effect of expansion on our existing clubs, and make a good decision on whether we ought to go from 30 to 32.”
On the stadium front the A’s have purchased part of the land that is now home to the Oracle Arena home of the Warriors and the existing coliseum where they play. The Warriors will be moving to San Francisco next year leaving the team planty of room to build a stadium as well as residential and business properties on the site.
Meanwhile, the waterfront stadium that is the A’s first choice requires that the state of California allow them to by the land that is now owned by the state on the Oakland bay site. A bill that would green light the privately funded project is presently moving along through the state legislature.
As for the Rays well they are under a lease to stay at Tropicana Field until 2027. But the team is expected to announce their long term plans this summer with a new stadium on the present site in St. Petersburg a solid contender (not unlike the plan in Oakland) and another chance at doing something in Tampa with a new mayor not off the table just yet.