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Thread: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

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    Member Jpup's Avatar
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    Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotsto...hil&id=2727901


    By Phil Rogers
    Special to ESPN.com

    The idea of baseball in Portland, Ore., is new for a lot of people. But it has been a lifetime habit for Boston Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky, and he's 87 years old.

    Pesky was born in 1919 and grew up following his hometown Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League. He has spent most of his life on the opposite coast, but is intrigued by the movement to bring the Florida Marlins or another major league baseball franchise to Portland.

    "What Portland always had was good fans,'' Pesky said in a 2006 interview. "I haven't been back in five years, and the growth has been phenomenal … Portland is bigger than more than a few other cities that host major league baseball. Why shouldn't Portland have a club? I think they should get a shot. I think Portland will have a team in three or four years.''

    Then again, if the Marlins solve their stadium issues in Miami and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays find a way to become competitive, it could be another 34 years before MLB moves another one of its teams. That's how many seasons passed between the shifting of the Washington Senators to Arlington, Texas, and the move of the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C.

    But whether it's by relocation or another as-yet-unforeseen round of expansion, history says the makeup of the MLB membership won't stay the same for too long. Since the Dodgers and Giants moved west in 1958, the sport hasn't gone longer than 16 years without adding or moving teams, averaging an expansion or relocation every eight years.

    Look for Portland, a jewel of a city in the shadow of Mt. Hood and near Oregon's scenic coast, to be ready when the next movement comes.

    It has already earmarked $150 million for a public-private stadium partnership -- financed in part by a highly creative plan diverting the income taxes of major league players and executives of Portland's new team to retire stadium bonds -- with seven potential stadium sites, including three along the Williamette River downtown. While that stadium is being built, the Beavers' PGE Park could be expanded to about 25,000 seats to accommodate a speedy transition for an existing team, like the Marlins.

    Pesky is right about the size of the Portland area compared to some cities that have had MLB franchises for a long time.

    "If you took the Pittsburgh stadium and put it in Portland, then Portland would be a stronger market than Pittsburgh,'' economist Andrew Zimbalist told The (Portland) Oregonian last year.

    With a population of about 2 million, Portland ranks as the 24th largest metro area in the United States. That's ahead of Cincinnati (25), Kansas City (27) and Milwaukee (37) and right behind Pittsburgh (21), Denver (22) and Cleveland (23). Nielsen ranks the Portland market 23rd, up from 24th a year ago (it passed Buffalo), and way ahead of Kansas City (31), Milwaukee (33) and Cincinnati (34).

    Perhaps the most appealing thing about the Portland market is that it currently counts the NBA's Trail Blazers as the only franchises from sports' four basic alphabet groups (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB).

    According to math by the Portland Baseball Group, only Los Angeles and New York have a higher ratio of population to major sports franchises. San Diego is the only bigger metro area that doesn't have at least three teams, and it has the big two in the NFL and MLB.

    A Portland franchise would be positioned to receive civic and corporate support. Adidas, which has its 352,000-square foot headquarters in North Portland, has supported the push to bring an MLB franchise to the city. Nike, based in nearby Beaverton, might join the battle for naming rights to the new ballpark.

    If the Marlins did wind up moving there, MLB could also realign in a way that makes more geographic sense.

    Tampa Bay could move to the National League, where it might develop a rivalry with Atlanta, with Portland's team joining Seattle in the American League West. Texas could be shifted to the AL Central -- a change it was promised more than a decade ago -- and Detroit could move to the AL East. Nothing happens easily, or quickly, in MLB, but this makes sense.

    Next in line

    Las Vegas: Mayor Oscar Goodman has made the acquisition of a major league franchise a top priority, even bringing a group of showgirls to baseball's winter meetings. The reality lags behind the aggressive marketing, however. Some have a perception that Las Vegas is America's boomtown, but it's hardly Phoenix. It's 31st in the size of metro areas and 48th among television markets. None of the four major sports leagues have been willing to court scandal by moving into a city built on the back of gambling, and it doesn't seem likely baseball will be the first.

    San Antonio: The Marlins seriously explored their options in the central Texas city last year, but city officials were turned down when they forced owner Jeffrey Loria to make a quick decision about a stadium offer. This was a major relief to the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, who weren't excited about a third franchise in their state. Mayor Phil Hardberger correctly points to the size of the San Antonio TV market (37th) as a major drawback for bringing a second big-league franchise to a city that is home to the NBA's Spurs.

    Charlotte: Like Portland, Charlotte is on its way up. Its TV market ranks 27th, gaining a place in the latest rankings, and it is home to nine Fortune 500 companies. The Minnesota Twins flirted with a move to Charlotte in 1998. But saturation provides the same problem here as in Indianapolis, as the NFL and the NBA beat MLB to the market. A structure remains in place to build a 40,000 seat baseball stadium, but it could be a long time until one is needed.

    Northern New Jersey: A third team in the New York/New Jersey market is an intriguing idea, and might be the best way for other franchises to slow the two powerful New York teams. But Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and Mets owner Fred Wilpon would oppose any move to bring a team here at least as adamantly as Orioles owner Peter Angelos did the Expos' relocation to Washington, D.C., and no one has stepped forward to challenge the Yankees and Mets.

    Orlando: In a dream world, you'd bulldoze Dolphin Stadium and Tropicana Field and merge Florida's two weak franchises into one, based in the middle of the state. Orlando's TV market is 20th, larger even than Portland, and Disney-based tourism would give an Orlando team some natural advantages. The Devil Rays are playing a regular-season series at Disney World this season, but it's hard to see how MLB unravels its Florida mess to land in the Magic Kingdom.

    Norfolk, Va.: Briefly floated as an option for the Expos when the Washington bid was in turmoil, city officials have had talks with the Marlins. Few take it seriously.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton

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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    if MLB really wanted to do something cool and very 21rst century they would put a team in Tokyo
    .

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    Member Jpup's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Will M View Post
    if MLB really wanted to do something cool and very 21rst century they would put a team in Tokyo
    That would be terrible. Who would they play? The travel would be nuts.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpup View Post
    That would be terrible. Who would they play? The travel would be nuts.
    Technically, it's not that far away for the teams on the West Coast...:
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Little Reds BandWagon Reds Nd2's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    Technically, it's not that far away for the teams on the West Coast...:
    I really look forward to the 5:10 AM East Coast start times.
    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC View Post
    Charlotte, NC. Bring it on.
    Oh yea'! I would be down with that. An NL Central team would be really sweet.
    "...You just have a wider lens than one game."
    --Former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky, on why he didn't fly Josh Hamilton to Colorado for one game.

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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpup View Post
    That would be terrible. Who would they play? The travel would be nuts.
    So the travel would be bad. It could be done.

    Having a team in Tokyo would be great for baseball. Lets face it, baseball is losing fans to other sports here in America. Yet baseball is very popular in Japan. Japan despite its economic problems the last 15 years is still one of the biggest economies in the world. It could easily support a team and draw WAY more fans than most teams in small markets here in the US.

    Also, Mexico city should have a team. Despite Mexico overall being a 2nd world country Mexico city is in fact HUGE. There would be enough fans.
    .

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Will M View Post
    Also, Mexico city should have a team. Despite Mexico overall being a 2nd world country Mexico city is in fact HUGE. There would be enough fans.
    I am down with baseball in a Mexican metropolis. It's a great idea. I know it could get messy from a visa/legal/tax standpoint which is probably a major reason it hasn't been done (plus it's a new law that all Americans must use passports to enter Canada and Mexico), but not undoable, I would think.

    Puerto Rico could stand to have a team as well.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Member Jpup's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I am down with baseball in a Mexican metropolis. It's a great idea. I know it could get messy from a visa/legal/tax standpoint which is probably a major reason it hasn't been done (plus it's a new law that all Americans must use passports to enter Canada and Mexico), but not undoable, I would think.

    Puerto Rico could stand to have a team as well.
    poor attendance in Puerto Rico killed that chance for them.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I am down with baseball in a Mexican metropolis. It's a great idea. I know it could get messy from a visa/legal/tax standpoint which is probably a major reason it hasn't been done (plus it's a new law that all Americans must use passports to enter Canada and Mexico), but not undoable, I would think.

    Puerto Rico could stand to have a team as well.

    Mexico City has a higher altitude than Denver. It'd also be an economic nightmare.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    .......(plus it's a new law that all Americans must use passports to enter Canada and Mexico).......
    I believe it it is actually kind of the other way around. Canada and Mexico don't plan on changing the requirements for USA citizens entering their country but the USA is about to begin requiring it's own citizens to have passports to get back in. This goes into force for people arriving by sea or air supposedly within the next 2 weeks. They have put off for a while longer implementing it for ground crossings because there are thousands and maybe even hundreds of thousands of folks who cross regularly on business or to vist family (imagine Detroit/ Windsor for example or all the truckers who make international runs) and who don't have passports as of yet.

    However, getting a passport isn't that big of a deal. You need a certified copy of your birth certificate (i.e one with an imprinted government seal). They cost about $20 if you need to get one. Plus you'll also need a mug shot photo (available at Walgreens, CVS etc for around $10). Either download the application or pick one up at most any post office. Fill out the application and take it (along with the BC and mug shot) to a post office that processes them. Turn in your application, give them I believe it is $85, and in about 6 weeks you should receive a passport in the mail (good for 10 years).
    Last edited by jnwohio; 01-12-2007 at 11:47 PM.

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    Member Jpup's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Will M View Post
    So the travel would be bad. It could be done.

    Having a team in Tokyo would be great for baseball. Lets face it, baseball is losing fans to other sports here in America. Yet baseball is very popular in Japan. Japan despite its economic problems the last 15 years is still one of the biggest economies in the world. It could easily support a team and draw WAY more fans than most teams in small markets here in the US.

    Also, Mexico city should have a team. Despite Mexico overall being a 2nd world country Mexico city is in fact HUGE. There would be enough fans.
    You think that you are going to get guys to go play in Tokyo all summer?
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton

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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpup View Post
    You think that you are going to get guys to go play in Tokyo all summer?
    Yeah, honestly, I don't see a whole lot of free agents looking at playing in Japan as an attractive option.

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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Will M View Post
    Lets face it, baseball is losing fans to other sports here in America.
    Based on what metrics?

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    The North West deserves NL baseball.
    Go Gators!

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    Re: Relocating A Team To Portland Makes Sense

    I don't know if it would be viable, but I want to see a team in Nashville. That will probably never happen though.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton


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