What Will Be the Next Franchise Move in MLB?

The move by the St. Louis Rams back to Southern California for the 2016 NFL season-they might soon be accompanied by the Raiders or San Diego Chargers-reminds you that the last MLB franchise to change cities was the Montreal Expos moving to D.C. after the 2004 season. Which franchise will be the next to move? The Tampa Bay Rays and/or Oakland A’s seem most likely, with their older stadiums and stated desire to have taxpayers pay for new ones. It seems that in pro sports, once a franchise has moved once, it’s fairly likely to move again.

Published in: Uncategorized on February 2, 2016 at 12:15 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Another interesting question is, where would a new team go? With shifting populations and declining interesting in baseball among people who actually buy tickets, what new market is ripe for colonization? MLB could follow the NFL and NBA and NHL into North Carolina. Indiana has done well for the NFL and NBA as well. Washington DC got its team back — does Montreal deserve another try? Could Puerto Rico or Cuba sustain an MLB franchise for 81 home dates per year?

  2. Well, the Athletics HAVE sort of set the bar for franchise moves, their stadium situation is more dire than the Rays’ and MLB may be more willing to let the Giants own the Bay Area alone than lose the Tampa Bay market (although baseball has never been big as a spectator sport in Florida outside the Grapefruit League).

    Where to move the A’s? I started ticking off places that might work but they all have bigger problems than Oakland. Montreal and Vancouver have confiscatory taxes AND a declining Canadian dollar, Latin American countries have neither the economic strength nor infrastructure franchises rely on to compete at the MLB level (not to mention unstable politics), and everywhere else on short lists for future expansion (Charlotte, Indy, Sacramento, San Jose…) would need a new ballpark because their current minor league facilities can’t be expanded.

    Oakland isn’t historically a good baseball town dating to its PCL days and has never truly embraced the A’s since their arrival from KC, but there really isn’t a viable alternative right now. Better to fix the Coliseum as much as can be done (at least repair the plumbing and drainage problems) and live with it until a better option comes along.

  3. I didn’t know low attendance in Oakland went back that far. San Jose would be a more logical home in a lot of ways.

  4. Hard to say. SJ would need a new ballpark too (I saw George Brett play A ball at the current one in 1972), but the larger question may be whether the Bay Area will ever support two teams. I’m just not convinced it will.

    I do think we may see expansion before we see another franchise move because the fees would be huge and 32 teams are a lot less awkward for scheduling than 30. Manfred has said he’d consider expansion in the future. Wouldn’t four geographically sensible divisions be great? We could have Seattle, Oakland(?), San Francisco, Arizona, San Diego, Colorado and the two LA teams comprise MLB West.

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