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Charlotte MLB Team Speculation


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^Nice analysis Jed.

Not to mention that it especially tough to absorb a new team in the midst of this horrible economic downturn.

My guess is Portland gets the next team, and it will likely be from a relocation, as any expansion will be postponed for several years until the economy improves. I predict that North Carolina (likely Charlotte over Raleigh) will get a team by 2015 and that it will also be a relocation of a team from a shrinking population city, like Pittsburgh, where baseball has always taken a backseat to football.

That sounds like a pretty smart prediction to me.

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Mediocre?  You gotta be kidding me. It's probably the greatest achievement of any mid-size (low density)  relatively conservative non-"world-class" southern metro ever.  Supported by a southern Republ

Michael Jackson would be a better NBA owner than Michael Jordan. In 2019.

OPM - other people's money - tax dollars Tepper will buy the Ray's - I've been making this crazy accurate statement for a few years.  Stadium will go where current Panther stadium is.  

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^^^ (clarification: The Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals. Toronto Blue Jays are the only Canadian team now).

^ Even as the economy/population of Pittsburgh is dwindling, MLB would not move the Pirates simply because they are a legacy team. They have been playing in Pittsburgh for a hundred years, and they are the foundation of the thing that makes MLB different than any other sport: tradition. MLB is in love with tradition, and fans like myself cherish it as part of our love for the game. It's why you see controversy over steroids - they change the legacy of the stats. If any city were to lose a legacy team, I would think Detroit would lose before Pittsburgh, but again that wouldn't happen, no matter how dire the situation might be. Besides, Pittsburgh and Detroit both have brand new stadiums with good attendance and long leases.

The years of moving teams around led to the following years of expansion. In the 50's and 60's when the NY Giants became the SF Giants (following the lead of the Brooklyn Dodgers to LA), the game became unbalanced geographically. MLB NEEDED two teams out on the west coast to rationalize the travel time in the new era - the days of the "team bus" were gone, and the "team jet" was the new term. Okay, so then you have Toronto get a team, and Montreal needs to come on board (questionably - because geographically Montreal is not far from Boston, NYC or even Pittsburgh). But it happened that way because the OLD Washington Nationals moved to Minnesota to become the Twins. So after two decades of unchecked (greed driven) moves, you're stuck with a geographic clusterF of teams and divisions. Certain teams that SHOULD be in the West Division, are lumped in with the Central or East in order to balance out the divisions. That throws off schedules, gives other teams unreasonable travel times, and even limits local support because away games are played in "prime time 7pm" for the local team - which is 4pm back home.

So in the early 90's MLB did what was called a realignment/expansion. Bring on board Arizona, Colorado, Tampa, Florida (Miami). Also, they moved the Milwaukee Brewers from the American League to the Nation League. They put everyone in the right geographic division for their respective league except the Texas (Dallas) Rangers who are still in the American League West. So for the first time since the 50's MLB is lined up properly. Even when Montreal folded it's team and moved to Washington DC (to reuse the moniker Nationals), it was okay because it was an National League East team staying within the National League East.

My point: MLB probably won't get behind a team moving unless it fits within it's divisions (Charlotte could get the Marlins cleanly, or Tampa cleanly - especially because neither team really has a legacy) but Pittsburgh would be outside it's division as would Detroit (and both are legacy teams). There is no need for another expansion - MLB is doing well in the last 10 years and the divisions are well balanced. The only things that are not symmetrical are Texas Rangers being in the AL West - and the fact that the NL has 2 more teams than the AL. Soooooooo, put it all together and the expansion to happen next (whenever TWO cities prove themselves to be ready for a team) would be: 1. A new AL West team (Portland), 2: This would move Texas Rangers into their correct division of AL Central, 3: Add a new team in any division of the AL (making one division have 6 teams instead of 5 - just like the NL Central has 6). Look closely at the map and figure out what region is least represented by the American League - Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Carolinas.

Of course, everything gets thrown out the window if MLB expands in Puerto Rico; and "International" is the direction MLB seems to really be into lately.

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^^^ (clarification: The Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals. Toronto Blue Jays are the only Canadian team now).

^ Even as the economy/population of Pittsburgh is dwindling, MLB would not move the Pirates simply because they are a legacy team. They have been playing in Pittsburgh for a hundred years, and they are the foundation of the thing that makes MLB different than any other sport: tradition. MLB is in love with tradition, and fans like myself cherish it as part of our love for the game. It's why you see controversy over steroids - they change the legacy of the stats. If any city were to lose a legacy team, I would think Detroit would lose before Pittsburgh, but again that wouldn't happen, no matter how dire the situation might be. Besides, Pittsburgh and Detroit both have brand new stadiums with good attendance and long leases.

The years of moving teams around led to the following years of expansion. In the 50's and 60's when the NY Giants became the SF Giants (following the lead of the Brooklyn Dodgers to LA), the game became unbalanced geographically. MLB NEEDED two teams out on the west coast to rationalize the travel time in the new era - the days of the "team bus" were gone, and the "team jet" was the new term. Okay, so then you have Toronto get a team, and Montreal needs to come on board (questionably - because geographically Montreal is not far from Boston, NYC or even Pittsburgh). But it happened that way because the OLD Washington Nationals moved to Minnesota to become the Twins. So after two decades of unchecked (greed driven) moves, you're stuck with a geographic clusterF of teams and divisions. Certain teams that SHOULD be in the West Division, are lumped in with the Central or East in order to balance out the divisions. That throws off schedules, gives other teams unreasonable travel times, and even limits local support because away games are played in "prime time 7pm" for the local team - which is 4pm back home.

So in the early 90's MLB did what was called a realignment/expansion. Bring on board Arizona, Colorado, Tampa, Florida (Miami). Also, they moved the Milwaukee Brewers from the American League to the Nation League. They put everyone in the right geographic division for their respective league except the Texas (Dallas) Rangers who are still in the American League West. So for the first time since the 50's MLB is lined up properly. Even when Montreal folded it's team and moved to Washington DC (to reuse the moniker Nationals), it was okay because it was an National League East team staying within the National League East.

My point: MLB probably won't get behind a team moving unless it fits within it's divisions (Charlotte could get the Marlins cleanly, or Tampa cleanly - especially because neither team really has a legacy) but Pittsburgh would be outside it's division as would Detroit (and both are legacy teams). There is no need for another expansion - MLB is doing well in the last 10 years and the divisions are well balanced. The only things that are not symmetrical are Texas Rangers being in the AL West - and the fact that the NL has 2 more teams than the AL. Soooooooo, put it all together and the expansion to happen next (whenever TWO cities prove themselves to be ready for a team) would be: 1. A new AL West team (Portland), 2: This would move Texas Rangers into their correct division of AL Central, 3: Add a new team in any division of the AL (making one division have 6 teams instead of 5 - just like the NL Central has 6). Look closely at the map and figure out what region is least represented by the American League - Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Carolinas.

Of course, everything gets thrown out the window if MLB expands in Puerto Rico; and "International" is the direction MLB seems to really be into lately.

Wow. It's awesome to read a post by someone who really knows what they are talking about.

Just to respond to what you said about Pittsburgh being a legacy team and therefore not moving. A friend of mine from the Pittsburgh area and a huge baseball fan (so, I take his word for a lot of things concerning the subject) was really believing that Pitt might lose its team a year or so back. Apparently there were problems in Pitt (can't remember if it was lease, attendance, or what) and the rumors were that the Pirates might be moving. I think Charlotte even got a mention in the local papers up there (don't quote me on that one). When he told me about this, my first thoughts were that Pitt was a legacy, that they had just built a new ball park (one of the ones I've been to), and that Pitt usually supports its teams fairly well. He still seemed to believe at the time it was a real possibility. I'm not disputing what you said at all, just offering that as food for thought on the subject.

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Escapists, I understand your point about MLB and the way it clutches to its history and you certainly are well versed on the subject, but I would say that MLB has been more prone to toss tradition to the curb in the last decade or so. Examples: adding an additional playoff tier and wild card team, interleague play, all-star game determining WS homefield advantage, instant replay for home run calls. All of these changes/additions would have been unconscionable 20 years ago.

Also, another "legacy" team, the San Francisco Giants, were hours from moving to St. Pete in the early 1990s as you may recall, so I don't think it's a stretch to think a team with a long history can move. I think the almighty buck trumps tradition if a team like Pittsburgh continues to lose games and not draw fans by the millions. Despite a beautiful new ball park built in 2001, their annual attendance consistently lags the rest of the league by over a million fans. They have become as irrelevant in Pittsburgh as the Bobcats are in Charlotte.

Edited by SmellyCat
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Agreed. Anything is possible when money is involved. I think my point is, MLB spent more than a decade realigning the leagues, and I think they would do everything they could to keep the leagues well organized.

I hate to say this because I really would love a MLB team in Charlotte, but I think Puerto Rico might get a team before Charlotte. MLB is really interested in International presence lately.

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Escapists, I understand your point about MLB and the way it clutches to its history and you certainly are well versed on the subject, but I would say that MLB has been more prone to toss tradition to the curb in the last decade or so. Examples: adding an additional playoff tier and wild card team, interleague play, all-star game determining WS homefield advantage, instant replay for home run calls. All of these changes/additions would have been unconscionable 20 years ago.

Also, another "legacy" team, the San Francisco Giants, were hours from moving to St. Pete in the early 1990s as you may recall, so I don't think it's a stretch to think a team with a long history can move. I think the almighty buck trumps tradition if a team like Pittsburgh continues to lose games and not draw fans by the millions. Despite a beautiful new ball park built in 2001, their annual attendance consistently lags the rest of the league by over a million fans. They have become as irrelevant in Pittsburgh as the Bobcats are in Charlotte.

At 38,365 seats, PNC Park (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) is the smallest ballpark in the major leagues, too. Fenway Park in Boston, with it's 2008 off-season expansion, is now larger than PNC Park, even. I don't think the ownership there in Pittsburgh ever intended to draw throngs of fans or they would have probably built something a little larger. The bottom line is that PNC Park is a great ballpark - perfect for that franchise and its fans - and the Pittsburgh Pirates are anything but irrelevant to their fan base, win or lose.

If any team is going to relocate, I would expect it to be one (or both) of the two teams in Florida. Neither really have fan support. Neither really have a real ballpark. The Rays tried to build a new ballpark downtown on the waterfront in St. Pete, but that proposal met with very little support and some fierce opposition. Their lease on Tropicana Field is going to be up very soon. The Marlins have been trying to get a ballpark built in downtown Miami or at least near the old Orange Bowl site for years - no dice. The Rays were the AL Champs and were in the World Series in 2008 and still drew an average of only 22,259 per game (1,780,791 for the season). The Marlins had a pretty good year in 2008 too, but still only drew 1,335,075 for the season (an average of 16,688 per game). I wouldn't be a bit surprised if a) Orlando snuck in the back door with a downtown ballpark for either of those two and b) if the other relocated to Portland or Charlotte.

Edited by RestedTraveler
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At 38,365 seats, PNC Park (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) is the smallest ballpark in the major leagues, too. Fenway Park in Boston, with it's 2008 off-season expansion, is now larger than PNC Park, even. I don't think the ownership there in Pittsburgh ever intended to draw throngs of fans or they would have probably built something a little larger. The bottom line is that PNC Park is a great ballpark - perfect for that franchise and its fans - and the Pittsburgh Pirates are anything but irrelevant to their fan base, win or lose.

If any team is going to relocate, I would expect it to be one (or both) of the two teams in Florida. Neither really have fan support. Neither really have a real ballpark. The Rays tried to build a new ballpark downtown on the waterfront in St. Pete, but that proposal met with very little support and some fierce opposition. Their lease on Tropicana Field is going to be up very soon. The Marlins have been trying to get a ballpark built in downtown Miami or at least near the old Orange Bowl site for years - no dice. The Rays were the AL Champs and were in the World Series in 2008 and still drew an average of only 22,259 per game (1,780,791 for the season). The Marlins had a pretty good year in 2008 too, but still only drew 1,335,075 for the season (an average of 16,688 per game). I wouldn't be a bit surprised if a) Orlando snuck in the back door with a downtown ballpark for either of those two and b) if the other relocated to Portland or Charlotte.

The Marlins in Charlotte would be perfect geographically.

The southernmost team in the NL East would be ATL, and the northernmost would be the Mets.

Draw a line from Atlanta to Queens. You would hit up Charlotte, DC, and Philly. Imagine the rivalries.

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It would be extremely difficult to do given the affiliation system of minor league baseball with the MLB clubs, but I would love to see a relegation system similar to European Soocer leagues used to keep all the clubs up to par. Bascically the bottom 3 or 4 MLB teams at the end of the year would be sent down to AAA and the top 3-4 AAA would be promoted to MLB. This would end the completely ludicrous profit sharing agreement that currently provides the KC Royals with an incentive to stink every year.

Could you imagine the Knights all of a sudden playing against the Yankees one year??? A far fetched dream maybe, but better than the current system.

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  • 8 months later...

Those of you who know more about MLB than I do can explain all the reasons why this is the dumbest thing they've ever heard but...

Aren't the Texas Rangers under the control of MLB and not local ownership at this point and how stable are they in Dallas/FW? What are the chances of this team moving and perhaps even moving to Charlotte?

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Those of you who know more about MLB than I do can explain all the reasons why this is the dumbest thing they've ever heard but...

Aren't the Texas Rangers under the control of MLB and not local ownership at this point and how stable are they in Dallas/FW? What are the chances of this team moving and perhaps even moving to Charlotte?

I hadn't heard anything about this before, but according to wikipedia, the Texas Rangers are owned by a Dallas businessman named Tom Hicks (who is a board member of a subsidiary of MLB). So saying that, I wouldn't think MLB "controls" the Rangers, but I guess it all depend what kind of backroom politics Hicks is involved in.

Let me just say this though - The Texas Rangers are in the American League West. It would seem that if they were to move, MLB would be more apt to give them over to a city in the West of the US (since I consider Charlotte and Portland to be on par with each other) - I would assume they would go to Portland.

The Rangers have never really been a very viable competitor. They've never made it to the World Series - although this year they were the closest in line to the Wild Card (which was won by the Red Sox).

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I hadn't heard anything about this before, but according to wikipedia, the Texas Rangers are owned by a Dallas businessman named Tom Hicks (who is a board member of a subsidiary of MLB). So saying that, I wouldn't think MLB "controls" the Rangers, but I guess it all depend what kind of backroom politics Hicks is involved in.

Let me just say this though - The Texas Rangers are in the American League West. It would seem that if they were to move, MLB would be more apt to give them over to a city in the West of the US (since I consider Charlotte and Portland to be on par with each other) - I would assume they would go to Portland.

The Rangers have never really been a very viable competitor. They've never made it to the World Series - although this year they were the closest in line to the Wild Card (which was won by the Red Sox).

I think I heard they were taken over by MLB, but I can't remember the reason. I want to say I heard this on the Monday Night Football Panthers/Cowboys game (although I can't figure why they would have been talking about that). I just remember thinking that they were implying they were in trouble. Oh, I know why they were talking about the Rangers...the new Cowboys Stadium is next to it. Anyway...just thought I'd through it out there.

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The Escapists is right... If they were to relocate it would be some where like Portland. I think San Antonio may be another option as well. Both Portland and San Antonio are about on par with Charlotte in terms of metro size and they only have one major league sports team. Geography has as much to do with it as viable markets. I know it's been talked about on here before, but Charlotte just isn't in a position for a 3rd major sports team, with exception to maybe MLS (even though I hate Jerry Reese's plan for Ft. Mill).

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Charlotte is significantly richer than Portland or San Antonio; and has a bigger economy than Pittsburgh, Tampa, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Kansas City

It's all about the money.

Source

http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/...troNationbp.pdf

By the numbers and because of Charlotte's ambition, I think it's unlikely that Charlotte isn't high on the MLBs new city list.

Edited by moonshield
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Charlotte is significantly richer than Portland or San Antonio.

It's all about the money.

I don't think it's as much about money as it is population base. I just don't see our area drawing 25-30k fans a game 81 times a year. Especially given what we have now with the Panthers, Bobcats, Checkers, Nascar and PGA. I'm not including the Knights b/c obviously they wouldn't exist if we had MLB. Regardless I don't think it would be the Rangers. If any team were to relocate here, it would be the Rays. It makes the most sense geographically and they have a very bad stadium situation in Tampa.

BTW - don't get me wrong, I'd love for us to have MLB, but I just don't see it being viable for at least another 10-15 yrs.

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I agree with the timeline. 10 years is when I think we'll see some movement on this.

We will have the economy; and probably will have the population to support it.

I get Reese's idea though. It has happened before. Tampa (St. Petes) built a stadium on pure speculation on landing an expansion team. And it worked. Of course now...they can't even build a stadium for a winning team...

Tropicana Field aka. "The Trop" in St. Petes was built 3 years before the decision was made to give them a team. They used it for Arena Football and special events until the Rays came to play.

If Reese has the $, he could build a stadium on spec. But that's a pretty big leap of faith for one man alone. At least in St. Pete's, the city and residents were behind the idea. Here, Reese has managed to alienate a lot of potential supporters.

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Tropicana Field aka. "The Trop" in St. Petes was built 3 years before the decision was made to give them a team. They used it for Arena Football and special events until the Rays came to play.

I think it was even longer than that. For some reason I remember it being around in the very early 90's...was called the suncoast dome or something. (Devil)Rays didn't come around til 98.

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I think it was even longer than that. For some reason I remember it being around in the very early 90's...was called the suncoast dome or something. (Devil)Rays didn't come around til 98.

It was completed in 1990 and yes, it was 8 years until the Rays (then the Devil Rays) started play there. It served as home to the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team for a few years until their new arena was built.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropicana_Field

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Whatever team moves here, be it Devil Rays or Marlins, I just hope they change the name. Charlotte Cougars? I just can't stand team names like LA Lakers, Utah Jazz, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, and of course, New Orleans Hornets.

Depends on the name...Charlotte Athletics or in particular, Charlotte Royals has a nice ring to it. The A's wouldnt have to change anything on the logo, and the Royals would just have to drop the K in KC :)

Any of the Florida teams and I would go for the name Hornets. Charlottes had a Baseball, Football, and Basketball team with that name, dont see why they couldn't do it again. Anything but a cat name. Charlotte Blue Sox? (I dunno, what color socks do bankers wear? Charlotte Argyle Sox?)

Edited by kickazzz2000
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