Say It Ain’t So…
The Orioles may bounce on Baltimore? Chalk that one up to something I didn’t have on my franchise relocation Bingo card here in 2022. One thing is for certain, if they do leave it will take less than 12 months before the Rays franchise and its ownership begins their light jog turning into a sprint up I-95 to their new home.
So let’s suppose this infighting in the Angelos family is legit and that a move is being considered. The most glaring thing that stands out to me is that the organization’s lease with Camden Yards running out at the end of the 2023 season. Never mind the talk that Mrs Peter Angelos is a country music singer and Nashville is apparently a second home to the family. So until a lease extension gets done with the city/state with Camden Yards expect a huge cloud to continue to create major shade over the city of Baltimore. Now even if Louis Angelos is wrong and Peter decides to keep the team in Baltimore the Rays ending up in Nashville is still a possibility. If they don’t even up in the Music City then Charlotte and Montreal will very quickly enter the chat.
So here we are. This baseball’s chance to improve the structure of their sport instantly with this new wave of potential movement set to take place.
It’s time for a decent sized expansion into markets that are growing rapidly and are ready for Major League baseball to come to town.
Baseball is truly an International sport that spans multiple countries including the Caribbean and Central America. Baseball can keep the current divisional structure and balance them out by adding a new expansion team to each division except for the AL Central. There the former Orioles franchise moves to geographically balance out the League. If not the O’s then the Rays or an expansion team.
Baseball needs a steroid shot to increase value and growth. Yes, the pun is dripping with irony and 100% intended. We have put together our plan and now submit it to Major League Baseball to grow the game in emerging markets with an emphasis in making it a true North and Central American sport. It’s not only time it’s long overdue.
So here are the changes we see:
Expansion Teams: Montreal, Salt Lake City, Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio & Havana
Move A: Orioles move to Nashville (Name Stays in Baltimore)
Move B: Rays move to Baltimore and become Orioles
Move C: A’s move from Oakland to Vegas
Here is what the divisions would look like with the expansion plan (Goal is by the year 2028) *Denotes Expansion Team*
AL EAST AL CENTRAL AL WEST
RED SOX GUARDIANS ANGELS
BLUE JAYS WHITE SOX MARINERS
YANKEES TIGERS A’s (VEGAS)
ORIOLES (OLD RAYS) ROYALS RANGERS
MARLINS TWINS *SALT LAKE CITY*
*MONTREAL* NASHVILLE (OLD O’s) *PORTLAND*
METS CARDS GIANTS
NL EAST NL CENTRAL NL WEST
NATS BREWERS DODGERS
PIRATES CUBS D-BACKS
PHILLIES REDS ROCKIES
BRAVES ASTROS PADRES
*HAVANA* *CHARLOTTE* *SAN ANTONIO*
All of these cities make sense geographically and financially. Havana becomes baseball’s version of the “London” argument for the NFL. Who would want to play there? What would the financial structure look like? What about Communism?
There are some hurdles with this plan but Latin America needs a team and with 2 million people living in Cuba a franchise will thrive and create an instant rivalry with the Marlins that will challenge some of baseball’s oldest conflicts.
There is a fantastic webpage called “Out of the Park Baseball” where a poster known as “Ruwisc” has taken the time to not only list 30 potential MLB expansion cities but they have taken time create logos for ALL 30 teams! This is so labor intensive I want to not only recognize it but share with you some of the examples of the artwork that has been created!
Below you can see the North American map with the logos of the Nashville Stars, San Antonio Marshalls, Montreal Monarques, Salt Lake City Bees, Portland Beavers, Charlotte Flyers and the Havana Sugar Kings.
You can check out all of the potential logos for every team HERE
Baseball has taken some major steps the last 24 months to modernize itself without sacrificing its identity. Those things include the Universal DH, Expanded Replay, Roster Changes and coming soon the death of the shift. In the next few seasons expect to see pace of play addressed with pitching clocks and replay becoming much more centralized and sped up. Phase 1 has been very deliberate and strong. Phase II is going to be even better.