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Could NFL relocation spill over to MLB?

By: Corey Parkinson

The NFL seemed to be settled with 32 teams playing in 31 cities, but the chase of that almighty dollar has led to a flurry of movement. The Rams are already in Los Angeles and the Chargers are set to join them in the City of Angels next season. The Raiders also appear to be on the cusp of moving to Las Vegas. The question now is, given that wave of relocations, will Major League Baseball be affected, given their current state of stadiums.

Athletics owner John J. Fisher tried to move the Athletics to San Jose and without a new stadium he could soon follow the Warriors and Raiders and take them out of the town all together.

With the closing of Turner Field and the approval of a new ballpark for the Texas Rangers to open by 2020, it means that 14 of the current ballparks will be 20 years or younger by the 2020 season. But that also means more than half are getting to the shelf life of a stadium.

One team that has suffered for many years with stadium issues is the Oakland Athletics, which play at the 52-year-old Oakland Coliseum. Complaints of an oversized foulr territorial, the tarp that covers the third deck and sewage problems where it has overflowed into locker rooms and stadium restaurants and just done of the bad things about this relic of an arena. Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays, also had issues with the interference of cat-walks. The dome there is slanted at 225- feet above second base and 85 feet above center field, which leads to a lot of interference when it comes to high fly balls.

If a wave of relocation hits MLB, both of those teams could be on the move.

Certainly, there are ways both teams could stay in the cities they are in. Oakland is losing the powerhouse Warriors to San Francisco and the Raiders to Las Vegas. The potential of losing their only other team might be what finally gets the city that has never been willing to spend tax money to help out a rich sports team owner to finally budge a little bit because losing all three teams would severely crush the already troubled Oakland economy.

But if they don’t get a new stadium in Oakland there are a few options:

  1. San Jose – Cisco Field was proposed in San Jose in 2006 but the US Supreme Court shot down the relocation to San Jose in 2015. This could still be a viable option only if the Giants are willing to waive their territorial rights for south of the bay.
  2. Portland – Much like the issue with San Jose, the Seattle Mariners claim territorial rights to Portland. This could lead to a Nationals/Orioles dilemma if the As move here. On the plus side, Portland has been very vocal about wanting a Major League team and have had a few stadium proposals already discussed. The city has proven that they support professional sports teams too.
  3. Las Vegas – Call this ironic, but with the Golden Knights of the NHL and now the Raiders of the NFL looking to make ‘Sin City’ a multi-sports town, this could be an option for the As. MLB is not extremely popular for Las Vegas and considering their complete opposition to anything closely related to gambling, it might be a long shot. However, if NHL and NFL teams succeed there, MLB may follow.

The Rays could move actually into Tampa and out of their St. Petersburg ballpark located 30 minutes away. Moving a team downtown would be beneficial for a few seasons. The team would be in the heartland of the population and could benefit from increased attendance. Also, creating a new stadium in downtown Tampa would allow for more events like bit concerts and other landmark events.

But, if they don’t move to downtown Tampa Bay, there are some places they could go:

  1. Orlando – Moving the team to Orlando would enable MLB to keep a second franchise in Florida. The ideal location would be near Disney World and Epcot Center. This would draw not only local fan support, but also attract some other tourists who want to make it to a game and go to ‘the Happiest Place on earth.’
  2. Charlotte – Always discussed as a possibility for relocation, Charlotte actually already has a baseball following. The problem is that there would be competition with other sports as the Panthers and the Hornets are already pretty established in the city. But that is also a good sign that pro teams get supported there when teams look for places to relocate too.
  3. Montreal – Call it a guilty conscience or a pity party, but Montreal is at the top of MLB’s list for relocation. Olympic Stadium has undergone $200 million in renovations since the Expos left and became the Nationals. This would be a great option while a new stadium is built in the city. Montreal fans are chomping at the bit to revive the name and they would have proven fan support.

Purely guessing, the Athletics are probably going to stay in Oakland with the city losing both the Raiders and Warriors. Spending tax money on a stadium because the billionaire owner doesn’t want to shouldn’t be high on the cities list, but losing all of their pro teams would really hurt the overall economy.

And purely guessing, the Rays probably look like a prime target to move to Montreal to re-create the Expos. MLB has been desperate to give that city a second chance with the Rays constantly battling poor attendance, MLB would kill two birds with one stone. The city already has a stadium and a proven history of support.

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Corey Parkinson

Staff Writer
Corey grew up a sports fanatic and an athlete. A baseball player up until he was 18, his passion and love for the game has remained unchanged. From the time he was five if it involved a ball that you threw or kicked, Corey was all in. His passion for journalism began at the age of 10 when he wrote a play about a World Series involving the Seattle Mariners and The New York Mets. As a Sports Media and Marketing major currently at Full Sail University, Corey is working his way to becoming an MLB beat writer. Writing for SoMuchSports.com has given him the platform to share his knowledge and passion for sports and primarily his undying love for baseball.

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