A few days ago, sports executive Pat Williams, who was responsible for Orlando landing an NBA team in that central Florida town in 1989, announced he plans to bring major league baseball to Orlando as well. He wants to call it the Orlando Dreamers.
I hope baseball doesn’t expand. There are barely enough pitchers for the 30 teams as it is already. But the last place you’d want another baseball team is in Florida. That state does not support the two teams is currently has.
It’s so bad in Tampa Bay that the Rays owner publicly stated he is working on a plan to play half their home games in the Tampa Bay area and half in Montreal, a city that lost a team in 2004 because of lack of attendance.
What a mess.
But the dollar signs from franchise fees the owners would split up are just too big to ignore.
Baseball will have 32 teams sooner rather than later. Maybe even a concession as part of the next collective bargaining agreement. More teams equals more players. More players equals more union dues.
It would probably make too much sense to just move the Rays to Orlando. Their six fans can make the hour-and-a-half trip to watch their heroes play in Orlando.
Of course, this sort of thing is always a way to try shaking down the fans of cities who refuse to build new ballparks for their teams. Like Oakland. Eventually the Athletics will get tired of waiting, and their lease will run out. Tampa Bay’s lease has a handful of years left. In fact, the reason they even have a team is they tried that same ploy. They built their dreadful stadium and then sat around and waited for a team.
The Chicago White Sox had agreed to move there. Then, what do you know? The city built a new ballpark for the Sox. Oakland threated to move there as well. As did just about every team that wanted a new stadium built for them.
Here’s hoping baseball doesn’t expand but that it re-aligns somewhat so Texas and Houston aren’t in the West, and not playing so many late night games in west-coast time zones.
It’s bad enough having to watch the Rangers play the Mariners. But being forced to wait until 9:00 at night for it is cruel and unusual punishment.