Commish Rob Manfred broke from tradition a bit yesterday, refusing to threatmonger Oakland and Tampa Bay and instead politely expressing his patience, support, and hope for new stadiums in two of baseball's most-challenging markets.
But he didn't miss a chance to remind everyone that Montreal won't be getting a team until the league can successfully use the threat of relocation to get new stadiums in Oakland and Tampa Bay:
Manfred said any move to add teams beyond the current 30 must wait because of the stadium searches.
"Both of those clubs need new major-league-quality facilities," he said, "and until that's resolved, I think expansion has got to be on the back burner for us."
Of course, if Montreal relocation threats weren't bad enough in Tampa Bay, some observers really want to crowbar Las Vegas into the mix too.
But as the nation's 40th-largest media market (Tampa Bay is 11th), Las Vegas would be the league's smallest, and a serious drain on big-markets' television revenues. Plus, Vegas is about to get its first big-league franchise (hockey), so there wouldn't seem to be nearly enough disposable income in the most transient of towns to add another big-league team to the mix. After all, the blackjack tables will always come first.
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