Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rays to Portland? Fat Chance Pt. II

Following last fall's Shadow of the Stadium post on why the Rays won't be moving to Portland, Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball provides more reasons why the campaign in Oregon is much more dream than reality.  The biggest of Portland's many problems is that, unlike in the early 2000s, there is no MLB-owned team actively seeking relocation:
This simple, yet critical aspect, is why any discussion of the A’s or Rays relocating is a non-starter. Because without that, what you have are owners trying to leverage a ballpark deal, first in their market, and then only with the blessing of the league and a clear message that says, “Team up for sale,” does relocation to a new market occur.
Brown also identifies the pesky Giants/Mariners TV rights issues, the lack of a suitable stadium option right now, and of course, the complete lack of funding for a future stadium.

And while Brown doesn't complete discount Portland as a possible future MLB market, he does contend plans are a loooong way from fruition:
It’s those damned details that are getting in the way of the fun. Details that move efforts from “dream” to something closer to “reality.” When I was first approached about this current effort, my biggest advice was “work quietly behind the scenes.” That in doing so, politicians, MLB, and owners like Lew Wolff would not be placed in an uncomfortable spot of having to publically address MLB to Portland before anything substantive had been pulled together.

As it was in 2003, so should it be now. When the Expos were up for relocation, it provided Portland an opportunity to take a detailed examination of the market and report the findings, regardless of what club might actually land here one day. Focus on the “market viability” not “baseball has a problem, and we have a solution that has no answers to the major questions.” The former, not the latter, is where efforts to bring MLB to Portland should be. Until then, the dream will likely continue.

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