MLB needs to solve two stadium problems before it will expand.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is once again talking about his business expanding by two teams or perhaps filling one potential expansion city by relocating John Fisher’s Oakland Athletics business to Las Vegas. There is no timetable for expanding by two teams because there are stadium problems in Oakland, California and St. Petersburg, Florida that need to be resolved. The Lords of Baseball probably should have never given the approval to Charles Finley, the Kansas City Athletics owner, to relocate his business to Oakland in time for the 1968 season. Finley almost sold his business to Denver interests led by Marvin Davis in 1980. The American League blocked the deal that would have seen the business relocate to Denver. Various Athletics ownerships have attempted to build a ballpark in Oakland, Fremont and San Jose, California and struck out. Manfred also sees the Tampa-St. Petersburg area as a major league market even though in 2020 and 2021 Manfred seemed to think the Tampa-St. Petersburg area was not capable of handling an 81-game home schedule and endorsed a “sister-city plan” whereby the Tampa Bay market would split its home games with Montréal.
“I am an advocate of getting the industry to 32 ,” Manfred said “First of all, there’s a demand for baseball. People want baseball, you know, that’s what we sell. There are cities that want baseball and we should try to meet that demand. There are advantages for the sport. Getting to 32 gets you out of five team divisions, probably into four team divisions. Really helps you in terms of scheduling flexibility.” For some reason, Manfred recently said Charlotte is a market MLB could consider. MLB is obviously very interested in Las Vegas. Montréal does not seem to be on MLB’s radar anymore. Nashville and Portland, Oregon backers want teams. MLB expansion is on the back burner.
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