Minor League Baseball’s Memphis Redbirds Franchise Could Be On The Move

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Orlando Magic's Paolo Banchero (5) looks for a shot against Memphis Grizzlies' Santi Aldama (7) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Memphis lawmakers are not allocating funding to upgrade the minor league baseball park.

Memphis, Tennessee politicians have made their sports venue update decision. They will be spending money to remain a big-league sports city by allotting $230 million of $350 million in state money to renovate the National Basketball Association’s Memphis Grizzlies arena and the rest for an upgrade of the city’s football stadium. Memphis elected officials have said no to giving the city’s minor league baseball stadium a facelift and that could cost the city its team. Despite putting state money aside for the arena, the Grizzlies ownership group doesn’t think that $230 million is enough of an investment in the building and will probably seek additional funding from whatever Tennessee branch of government that has money for them, either Memphis or state lawmakers.

The ownership of the Memphis Redbirds baseball team is fuming. The Redbirds CEO Craig Unger said. “Since this process started more than 18 months ago, we have actively collaborated with the City on ways to achieve full funding for all projects, which is why it is so unfortunate that the critical needs of the park have been overlooked. Once the jewel of downtown and the gold standard for minor league baseball stadiums, the park is simply no longer considered a top facility in professional baseball. It is in desperate need of standard updates to basic infrastructure, relies on the building next door for critical systems, and is in danger of not meeting Major League Baseball’s compliance standards.” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and his office have been playing hardball with various municipalities around the country and to show that they mean business, they approved Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher’s request to move to Las Vegas because Fisher could not land an Oakland stadium and lopped off 42 minor league teams Memphis and Tennessee politicians need more money in the stadium game.

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