Why else would John Romano write about the "gaining credibility" of MLB contraction?
Halfway through the article, I thought he was criticizing the Ken Rosenthal column suggesting contraction:
So should Tampa Bay fans be practicing their panicked expressions this morning? Probably not. I'm guessing there is zero chance the Rays, or anyone else, will be contracted before the next labor deal is finalized in the coming months.But then Romano spends the rest of his column explaining why Rays fans should possibly fear contraction. He acknowledges the idea as far-fetched, but since Stu Sternberg is unlikely to threaten contraction and Bud Selig doesn't like direct threats...the only people likely to stir the contraction pot...are columnists.
Romano usually does good work, but I think he missed the story here. He touches upon the possibility of Sternberg taking a check from MLB in 2017 to simply fold the franchise, but that's unlikely. Far more likely is the possibility of Sternberg getting involved in an ownership shake-up like we saw in 2002 with the Red Sox, Marlins, and Expos.
If you want fun speculation that isn't so far-fetched, what would happen if the Steinbrenners sell the Yankees? Would Sternberg look to "upgrade?" Even if the Rays don't have a new stadium, he'll make a great profit. And if the team does have a new stadium, tack another $50 million to Stu's bottom line.
Not saying it'll happen...but it's a lot more likely than contraction.