Walk-Off

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  1. @QueenCitySwarm, if what your father is saying is true, then Tepper is requesting levels and uses of money and other resources that are not only wasteful, but flat-out impractical, even by the standards of funding for sports venues by governments. I cannot help but suspect that Tepper wants a new stadium in the Charlotte area for the Panthers -- especially one with a retractable roof -- and a separate stadium for a Charlotte MLS club (be it a renovated and reconfigured Bank of America Stadium or an entirely new facility) first and foremost as a way to one-up Atlanta in general and Arthur Blank in particular: "See that, Artie? My NFL team and my MLS team can play home games at the exact same time! Can you say that about the Falcan'ts and Atlanta Divided? I did not think so!" It is as if Tepper is the kind of billionaire who would go on a shopping spree and bring home a new top-of-the-line Rolls-Royce, a new top-of-the-line Ferrari, and a new top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen right after he sees one of this next-door neighbors buy a Bentley, sees his other next-door neighbor buy a Lamborghini, and sees the person living across the street from him buy a Range Rover. However, this is not to say that the idea of Charlotte as the home of the thirtieth club in MLS is without any merit. In addition to Tepper's deep pockets, concerns about the long-term environmental sustainability of the Las Vegas area and even the Phoenix area could help Charlotte beat out such dry locales for a place in MLS.
  2. As someone who will probably be a "charter" fan of the MLS version of Nashville SC, or who at least expects to have an easier time backing that club than any other MLS team to date, here are the short and the long of my very overdue assessment of the team's MLS visual identity. The Short I love the MLS team's crest. I hate the MLS team's colors. The Long The good news is that Nashville SC's first crest as an MLS club is a refreshly unique and bold design when the colors are not taken into consideration. The highly stylized capital N that dominates the crest, the font used for the team's name, and the emblem's octagonal shape combine to form a look that, as I see it, has much more of a "major-league" polish than does the crest that Nashville SC has used as a USL club (although the USL team's logo is itself a design that catches my eye easily and pleasantly). Another thing that I admire about the MLS Nashville SC crest is that the overall emblem (again, the colors notwithstanding) and particularly the stylized N would look right at home on the label of any of the many records produced over the years by Nashville's music industry. The bad news is that the "electric gold" and "acoustic blue" that are set to serve as Nashville SC's maiden MLS colors are, both individually and together, among the most repulsively drab colors ever used by a North American professional sports team. The yellow is washed out to the point that I have come to regard "electric" as a disturbingly ironic choice of adjective. The blue, meanwhile, is not only too dull for my tastes, but also too close to purple to to be easy on my eyes. The only justification that I can fathom for such a color scheme -- and a poor justification at that -- is that MLS and/or Nashville SC's investors/operators have been desperate to prevent the new club from copying the Los Angeles Galaxy's particular hues of yellow and dark(er) blue; if that has indeed been the case, then I prefer that the MLS incarnation of Nashville SC switch to a color scheme that deviates from the apparently emerging "Nashville stereotype" of a pairing of yellow and a shade of blue that is dark enough to fit the "navy" label.
  3. Replacing "San Diego" with "Oakland" in that sentence (and, more recently, mentioning Las Vegas in addition to or instead of Los Angeles) pretty much exemplifies how I have been frequently inclined to describe the Raiders, given their particular history of turmoil over where they were to play home games permanently.
  4. The International League Charlotte Knights' BB&T Ballpark has been in operation "only" since 2014, and the Pacific Coast League Nashville Sounds' First Tennessee (soon to be First Horizon) Park dates back "only" to 2015. For that combined reason, a Major League Baseball franchise for Charlotte or Nashville would have to be very set in stone before I would regard a move of that city's respective minor-league club to St. Paul as being justifiable. Otherwise, assuming that the major leagues are not expanding at that moment -- which would need to happen before the minor leagues in general have their own expansion -- and the Charlotte or Nashville MLB club is thus the result of a relocation, a St. Paul Class AAA team might as well come at the expense of Fresno (if the relocating team must be in the PCL) or a still-population-losing and still-economically-depressed area in the Great Lakes region, the Mid-Atlantic, or the Northeast (if an IL club can be moved to St. Paul).
  5. In all seriousness, Sacramento might not be the only possibility in California for the Bengals. I have read multiple reports that state that the 35,000-seat football stadium that San Diego State University wants to build on the site of the Chargers' former stadium would be able to be expanded to 50,000 seats to accommodate an NFL tenant (although, unfortunately for the San Diego area, such a capacity would be at least 20,000 too few seats to make the venue eligible to host a Super Bowl under current NFL criteria). The thought of the Bengals moving to San Diego before the Chargers could return there is hilarious to me. I am already picturing fans of a San Diego Bengals team attending a game being played against a still-Los Angeles Chargers franchise and chanting "Who are the Bungles now?"
  6. I hate to interrupt a ... to put it kindly ... spirited debate over whether or not a major-league-level ballpark on the Tampa side of the bay can and will save the Rays, but I am curious as to how many of the people (myself included) who want an MLB team (or a major-league professional team in any particular sport, for that matter) to exist in a particular area have a preference as to how that area earns the team. For instance, as much as I want Nashville to have its own MLB team, I would rather see such a club be the product of an expansion, of a relocation of a franchise (e.g. the Athletics or the Angels) from a market that would still have an MLB team, or of even a move of a franchise (e.g. the Orioles) out of a market that would then no longer have an MLB club, but would still be very close to a certain community or municipality in another market that still possesses an MLB team, than of a relocation of a franchise (e.g. the Rays, the Diamondbacks, or the Blue Jays) from a market that would then be without an MLB team and be far away from any remaining area with an MLB club. In other words, I think that my support for a Nashville-based MLB team would come with a clearer conscience if the Oakland Athletics became the Nashville Athletics* -- knowing that the San Francisco Bay Area would still have the Giants -- than if the Tampa Bay Rays turned into the Nashville Whatevers. It would be essentially the difference between the Philadelphia Athletics moving to Kansas City and the Kansas City Athletics moving to Oakland, or how the Boston Braves' move to Milwaukee contrasted with the Milwaukee Braves' move to Atlanta. * In my opinion, the Athletics nickname is historic enough, innocuous enough, and geographically generic enough to deserve to be kept should Oakland's MLB team move to Nashville or almost any other mostly-English-speaking part of North America. I now return us to our regularly scheduled arguing.
  7. Only if the act is clean enough for the state's many Mormons.
  8. I agree that, at the moment that the NFL let Stan Kroenke reverse the Rams' 1995 relocation and build a new home for that team in Inglewood, the Spanos family had at least seemed to have put much less effort into securing a better stadium for the Chargers -- in the San Diego market or anywhere else -- than the Davis family had done with regard to giving the Raiders a better stadium in Oakland. However, I do not remember the Davis family and the Raiders delving into genuinely serious discussions and negotiations with business leaders and public officials in the Las Vegas area until after the league allowed the Rams' return to the Los Angeles area and endowed the Chargers with the upper hand over the Raiders in being able to enter that market. This is at least one reason why I suspect that Roger Goodell and the owners of most of the teams across the NFL shared a strong fear of a repeat of all that went wrong with the Raiders during their thirteen seasons in L.A. and thus gave the Chargers an earlier and easier chance to be the league's new second team in the L.A. market.
  9. Oh, I have been definitely aware of that policy ... or at least have noticed a pattern of each Super Bowl being played only in an area that had at least one NFL team (or an AFL team, in the case of the Miami-hosted second and third editions of the "AFL-NFL World Championship Game") when that particular game took place. However, I am not sure if this co-worker of mine had bothered to recognize that same pattern with Super Bowl host regions, let alone known of an explicit policy confining Super Bowls to markets with NFL teams. If he knew that such a rule existed, then I am sure that he was wishing that the NFL would repeal that mandate and become willing to stage Super Bowls at college football stadia in places without NFL franchises.
  10. Maybe the rivalry has cooled down. I can see it heating back up, though, if business and/or political leaders in the Memphis area start to crave an NFL team again, develop a yearning for an NHL or (more likely) MLS team, or want to try to secure an MLB team for the Bluff City before Nashville can get one. Alternately, of course, Nashville interests could re-intensify the rivalry by seeking an NBA team for the Music City or battling Memphis over whatever proves to be "the next big thing" (Lacrosse? Rugby? Team handball?) in North American professional team sports. I am glad that you asked. Here is my ideal farm system for a Nashville MLB franchise: Class AAA First Choice: A Pacific Coast League version of the Birmingham Barons (resulting from a relocation of the Nashville Sounds) Second Choice: An International League version of the Tennessee Smokies of the Knoxville area (who would become the Knoxville Smokies if and when they leave Sevier County for Knoxville proper) Class AA First Choice: The Southern League's Chattanooga Lookouts Second Choice: The Tennessee (or Knoxville) Smokies in their current state as a Southern League club (should the Knoxville area not earn a Class AAA franchise) Third Choice: The Huntsville area's new Rocket City Trash Pandas (also in the Southern League) Fourth Choice: One more Southern League possibility, the Jackson Generals of Jackson, Tennessee (which, while closer to Memphis than to Nashville, might have a population more willing than the average Memphian to have an affinity for anything Nashville) Class A (High) First Choice: A Carolina League version of the Asheville Tourists Second Choice: Any available club in the Carolina League (with a preference for a team in any of the most westerly locales in that league's footprint if all else is equal) Class A (Low) First Choice: The Bowling Green Hot Rods as a South Atlantic League team again (The current Midwest League version of the Hot Rods could move away from Bowling Green, and then the present SAL form of the Asheville Tourists could make way for a Carolina League franchise in Asheville by heading to Bowling Green.) Second Choice: The Hot Rods in their current state as a Midwest League club Third Choice: The South Atlantic League's Lexington Legends Fourth Choice: The Asheville Tourists in their current state as a South Atlantic League club Class A (Short Season) A new franchise in the New York-Penn League that would play home games in Beckley, West Virginia (which would be the southernmost team in what is already the southernmost state in the NYPL's footprint) Rookie (Advanced) An Appalachian League team in Upper East Tennessee (preferably in Johnson City, Kingsport, or the Tennessee part of Bristol) Rookie Since my ideal spring training facility for a Nashville MLB club would be somewhere in Florida, the team would naturally have two non-advanced Rookie affiliates in the Gulf Coast League. In addition, the Nashville MLB club's farm system would include two teams in another non-advanced Rookie league, the Dominican Summer League. (Yes, some MLB teams have two GCL affiliates and/or two DSL affiliates apiece.)
  11. I remember the foolhardy attempt by the Chargers and the Raiders to move together into a stadium in Carson quite well. My speculation was specifically regarding why the Spanos family still had the nerve to shove the Chargers into the Los Angeles market after the NFL shot down the Carson proposal and okayed Kroenke's grand plan in Inglewood. I agree that Dean Spanos is a numbskull; a Chargers team in an L.A. market shared with the Raiders would have been even deader meat than the Bolts have been with the Rams as crosstown competition (and I say that as someone who loathes the Raiders and especially the culture of the Raiders' fanbase). Furthering the boneheadedness is that the Chargers were the NFL's closest team to the Los Angeles Basin for twenty-one seasons, yet Spanos, his kin, and their minions ignored seemingly every opportunity imaginable to build a bonafide fanbase for the Chargers in the Greater Los Angeles region during that time. With that said, I happen to think that Spanos is also a greedy coward -- someone too petty and too impatient to be content to keep his team in the San Diego area while the Rams and his franchise's most hated rival return to the far larger market to the immediate north. It seems to me that he was willing to accept a rebirth of the Los Angeles Raiders if the Chargers were also in the L.A. market (and especially at the same stadium), but not if the Raiders either were the L.A. area's only NFL franchise or were sharing that market with any other NFL team. Does that make any sense?
  12. Thanks for the clarification ... and for enlightening me on the matter.
  13. That is a good quip. On a serious note, I wonder if San Manuel's sponsorship of the Las Vegas Raiders is a byproduct of either a gentlemen's agreement among casino operators in the Las Vegas area to avoid sponsoring the team or a collective fear among Las Vegas casino executives that sales of tickets to Las Vegas Raiders home games will take too much money away from gambling and other activities at local casinos.
  14. That would be the University of Tennessee at Knoxville's Neyland Stadium.
  15. I base my concern about Inter Miami's brand(s) on the suspended-but-still-pending complaint that MLS has filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over F.C. Internazionale Milano's attempt to register "Inter" as a trademark in the United States: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=91247160&pty=OPP Who is to say that Inter Milan, a club founded decades before anyone had proposed what would become known as Major League Soccer, will not counteract with a formal complaint (either directly with the USPTO or via a lawsuit in a U.S. federal court) that "Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami MMXX" and/or "Inter Miami CF" infringe on any trademark to which the Italian club enjoys at least common-law rights in the United States? As for Inter Miami's desired stadium, it is about time that the club had a firmer plan than ever for a permanent home venue. Now, we have to wait and see how much financial will the team's investors/operators have and how much political will any relevant government has when it comes to making the stadium a reality.
  16. With a name like Miami Freedom Park for the stadium site, should MLS and/or the investors/operators of Inter Miami run into legal trouble over the team's current name(s), either Miami Freedom FC or a Spanish equivalent thereof (Would CF (Club de Fútbol) Libertad Miami be correct?) would be a great replacement name.
  17. I used to work alongside a man who had wished that the NFL would hold at least one Super Bowl at his favorite college football team's home stadium, which happens to be one of the largest stadia in the college game in terms of seating capacity, even though (a) this particular university and its football stadium are in a small, relatively poor city that is almost 200 miles away and in a separate television market from the closest NFL team and (b) the stadium is an outdoor venue in a climate whose winters have relatively few out-and-out cold days, but are nonetheless quite cooler than winters in at least the majority of the areas where the NFL has had open-air Super Bowls. If I ever have the chance to have a long conversation with him about football again, a counterpoint that I definitely would want to give to him is that the NFL never dared to grant a Super Bowl to any stadium in the Los Angeles area during the 21 years between the Rams' and Raiders' departure and the Rams' return. Speaking of the NFL and the Los Angeles market, while I think that the Chargers' stint in the L.A. area will end up lasting for only a few years, I personally do not expect the Chargers to relocate again until after the Raiders have played at least one full season in the Las Vegas market. All along, I have perceived the Bolts' move to the L.A. market to be first and foremost an effort by the Spanos family, with the possible blessings of Roger Goodell and the owners of most of the other teams in the NFL, to prevent the Raiders from coming back to the L.A. area. Even as far along as the Raiders had come in their negotiations for a stadium in the Las Vegas area, I have no doubt in my mind that had the Chargers made a long-term commitment to the San Diego market, chosen to move to someplace other than the L.A. market, or simply let their L.A. option expire without a firm decision on where they would play, then the Raiders would have dropped everything and exercised their then-newly-earned option to head back to the L.A. market faster than anyone can say "Just win, baby!" With that said, given that, as far as I can tell, the Los Angeles incarnation of the Raiders struggled to sell tickets to home games and tended to attract fans who were poor at best and had violent tendencies and criminal inclinations at worst, I do not blame either Goodell or the majority of NFL team owners at all for having wanted to make it as tough as possible for the Raiders to return to the L.A. area, nor do I fault Stan Kroenke if he thinks that a Los Angeles Chargers team is a lesser evil than a revival of the L.A. Raiders. As for St. Louis, the wisest thing for the NFL to do is to save that market for an expansion franchise. Both of the NFL teams that have been based in St. Louis since 1934 were relocations of franchises that each had spent at least four decades playing in a different metropolitan area, and neither team ended up lasting as long in St. Louis as it did in its previous home region. Maybe, then, a clean slate of history is what an NFL team needs most in order to have a lasting presence in the St. Louis area.
  18. That is precisely why I hope that a Nashville-based MLB team resists the temptation to have a minor-league affiliate in the Memphis area, why I am glad that the Predators do not have any of their farm teams in or near Memphis, and why I think that the Memphis Grizzlies have been wise to keep their G-League team well away from Nashville.
  19. I lived in the Nashville metropolitan area during the last few years of my childhood and all of my adolescence, and my time as a teenager happened to overlap with the first serious attempt (in the late 1980s and early 1990s) to bring a Major League Baseball franchise to Nashville, so, naturally, I have long wanted and still want to see Nashville have its own MLB team. Here, then, are my views regarding Nashville's and other cities' potential futures as homes of MLB clubs: Nashville's latest bid I think that the Music City Baseball initiative is off to a good start with its proposals and is composed of a solid team of leaders and advisors (former United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as the chairman, respected MLB figures Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart as advisors, the participation of at least one local music industry executive and a few commercially successful country music artists, etc.). More specifically, I admire the organization for its realistic outlook on how much time and effort will need to be spent on luring an MLB team to Nashville, its ambitious proposal to build a major-league-capacity ballpark with a retractable roof and without using any tax money, its desire to brand an MLB club under its control as the Nashville Stars so as to pay tribute to at least one of the Negro League baseball teams that played home games in Nashville, and its goal of partnering actively with the Kansas City-based Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. However, I think also that we need to keep a very careful eye on (a) whether or not those in charge of Music City Baseball can and will follow through on their stated goals of helping the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum substantively and especially spending only private funds on a venue for a Nashville MLB team (particularly one with a retractable roof or even a fixed full roof) and (b) how well the powers that be at Music City Baseball can attract investors with both enough money and a strong enough desire to bring an MLB franchise to Nashville (through either a move of an existing club or a successful expansion bid) and especially to build the proposed MLB park with their own money. Furthermore, I can think of two ways that Music City Baseball's "master plan" (as I would describe it) could be even better. First, while Stars is a catchy nickname and a good allusion to the many music "stars" based in and around Nashville and to the Tennessee flag's three stars, my preferred name for a Nashville-based MLB team is the Nashville Elites -- an identity that pays homage to Negro League baseball's Nashville Elite Giants of the 1920s and 1930s, avoids sharing a nickname with a divisional rival of an existing Nashville professional sports team, and would certainly be more unique than a Nashville Stars brand. Second, the MCB group is currently proposing an MLB venue that would be east-northeast of downtown Nashville (next to the Titans' Nissan Stadium) and have a field whose line from home plate to center field would run south-southwest -- a recipe for the sun getting in the eyes of most spectators, the home plate umpire, the catcher, and the batter, even when a retractable roof above the stadium is fully closed. Therefore, I believe strongly that if, for whatever reason, the ballpark absolutely must be built at the presently proposed location and have a south-southwest or other westerly field orientation, then a tall, retractable, partially transparent "sunglass" wall behind the outfield stands -- which, if I had my way, could be extended or retracted either concurrently with or independently of any retractable roof -- would go a long way toward reconciling a great view of downtown Nashville from the stands with a minimization of glare from the sun during day games and the early innings of many night games. Montréal As I see it, the best hope for a future Montréal MLB franchise to flourish over the long term is if (a) the economy of the Montréal metro area and of Québec as a whole is generating demonstrably more wealth per capita now than in 1995 (when a slight majority of voters in Québec answered "non" in a referendum on independence from Canada), (b) a high enough percentage of the French-speaking residents of Québec who were alive during the Expos' existence have come to regret not supporting the team more than they did*, and (c) a large enough number and percentage of those Francophones in Québec who are too young to remember the Expos are interested enough in baseball to want Montréal to have an MLB club again and to be willing to support such a team financially. * With regard to the possibility of older Francophone residents of Québec lamenting how little support they might have given to the Expos, just imagine Peabo Bryson's 1984 hit ballad "If Ever You're In My Arms Again" if its lyrics were in French and the song were directed at Major League Baseball instead of at a former significant other. The Rays' future in the Tampa Bay area I concur with anyone and everyone who believes that the Rays' chances of long-term success in the Tampa-St. Petersburg metro area are far higher if they can gain a suitable home ballpark in Tampa -- or at least in a part of the region that is closer to the largest possible concentration of residents than St. Petersburg seems to be. Unfortunately for anyone wanting the Rays to stay in their current market, I do not envision St. Pete's government becoming more merciful toward the Rays than it has been with regard to the team's lease of Tropicana Field, the government of any jurisdiction on or near Tampa Bay being willing or able to commit hundreds of millions of tax dollars on a new venue for the Rays, or any obvious cadre of private investors in the Tampa Bay region who are willing and able to try to buy the Rays from Stuart Sternberg and then spend their own money on a new home for the team within the Tampa-St. Pete area. Charlotte vs. Nashville As much as I crave a Nashville-based MLB club, I am willing to recognize that Charlotte has at least a few tangible advantages over Nashville as the home of an MLB franchise. When I look at Charlotte's and Nashville's respective drawbacks as MLB host cities, I get the impression that the two cities have more or less the same downsides, but Charlotte seems to have less extreme versions of most of those flaws than does Nashville. Meanwhile, the Charlotte area's current upsides over the Nashville area are a more populous metro area (if not a more populous central city), a large banking industry that would seem to provide a steadier source of heavy financial support than do the industries that appear to dominate the Nashville area's economy, the Charlotte area's lack of a Major League Soccer team (for now), and the fact that, according to certain studies, an NBA team can be profitable with a lower amount of total personal income than what an NHL team needs. If Nashville has any tangible edge over Charlotte regarding an ability to support an MLB club, it is -- to my surprise -- a higher income per capita; however, even as a Nashville partisan, I have been taking that finding with a grain of salt, as I have seen that statistic only in a study commissioned apparently for Raleigh's MLB campaign group. What cannot be denied, though, is that Nashville now has a group campaigning actively, and trying a lay a tangible and feasible groundwork, for an MLB team in that city to the point of proposing a new major-league-specification ballpark because of the supposed lack of expandability -- and despite the newness -- of the current home of the local Minor League Baseball team. Are those desiring a Charlotte-based Major League Baseball club able to claim to have such a group yet? Charlotte vs. Raleigh ... vs. Baltimore ... and D.C. If the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro areas had the exact same number and kind of major-league professional sports teams -- or at least if those two areas had portfolios of major-league pro teams that each required the same amount of total personal income to support -- then the Charlotte area's edge in population (if not in any other metric) over the metro area that contains Raleigh would enable a Charlotte-based major pro team to earn more money than would a Raleigh-based major pro team in the same sport. However, as long as Raleigh and its metro area are represented in the realm of major-league pro team sports by only an NHL franchise while the Charlotte area hosts teams in both the NBA and the NFL (and especially also as long as Charlotte is likely to land an MLS club before Raleigh does), then people living in Raleigh and nearby cities and towns might be collectively able to spend more money on tickets to a local MLB team's home games than could those residing in and around Charlotte. I say "might" only because my impression is that studies comparing metro areas' collective abilities to spend money on tickets to major-league pro team sports events rarely, if ever, take competition from the athletic programs of local colleges and universities into consideration ... and Raleigh's NHL club has to contend with more nearby universities with more popular sports teams than do Charlotte's major pro sports franchises. Unfortunately for MLB backers in both Charlotte and Raleigh, the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals could prove to be formidable foes of a campaign to bring an MLB franchise to anywhere in North Carolina -- the southernmost area in those two teams' mutual, MLB-commissioner's-office-defined television territory. I can see the Orioles objecting to a North Carolina MLB club for at least some of the reasons why they did not want MLB to have a team in Washington, D.C. again -- or even in any part of Virginia that lies within the same Nielsen-defined TV market as the District -- in the decades after the American League's second Washington Senators team became the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile, I would not be surprised at all if the Nationals are still insecure enough about their popularity in general and their games' TV ratings in particular that they would be reluctant at best to tolerate an MLB franchise in the Old North State. Finally, I suspect that both the O's and the Nats have long been livid over the refusal by both Time Warner Cable (which was North Carolina's largest cable TV provider) and Charter (who bought Time Warner Cable and thus, via the Spectrum brand, became that state's predominant cable company) to carry those two teams' common TV outlet, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, on systems anywhere in North Carolina. The Raleigh MLB advocacy group, via its website, has been playing up MASN's absence from Spectrum systems in Raleigh and nearby areas -- in contrast to the ability of Spectrum subscribers in and around Charlotte to see regional cable telecasts of Atlanta Braves games -- as evidence that (a) Raleigh and its metro area are together the most populous part of the United States without regional TV coverage of any MLB team and (b) such a situation thus strengthens the case for a Raleigh MLB club. However, what the Raleigh group does not seem to want to admit is that the city of Charlotte proper and the rest of the North Carolina segment of the Nielsen-defined Charlotte TV market are in-market for both the Orioles and the Nationals as well as for the Braves, so Spectrum subscribers throughout the North Carolina part of the Charlotte market are every bit as contractually and legally unable as their peers in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill market to circumvent their lack of access to MASN by watching regional telecasts of either O's games or Nats games via MLB Extra Innings or MLB.tv. To make matters worse for either that Raleigh group or any actual or hypothetical group calling for a Charlotte MLB team, I would not put it past the Orioles or even the Nationals to have the gall to argue that MLB would be rewarding Charter/Spectrum's unwillingness to carry MASN in North Carolina by putting an expansion franchise in North Carolina and/or allowing an existing club to move to anyplace in that state. Las Vegas Seriously ... an MLB team in the Las Vegas metro area ... in addition to the NHL team playing there now, the NFL team with a deal to move there next year, and maybe an MLS team in that region in the future? Even setting aside whether or not the Las Vegas area is environmentally sustainable at its current level of development or even at its present number of human residents, I doubt very strongly that the region has enough human residents and/or a high enough income per capita to enable an MLB franchise -- let alone one that would compete directly with at least two other major-league pro sports teams -- to be a sustainable enterprise financially. Sure, some people in high places may be thinking that the many travelers that the Las Vegas area attracts annually and all of the money that those visitors shell out during those trips add up to a local MLB club being able to induce lots of those tourists to spend time and (especially) money at the old ball game in Sin City. However, along with the issues that I have already mentioned, I fear that such would-be owners of a Las Vegas MLB club are underestimating both the degree to which local casinos might discourage their respective patrons from going off property -- particularly for something as potentially expensive as a major pro sports team's home game -- and the percentage of tourists in and around "Lost Wages" who end up gambling away too much money during their vacations to be able to afford even the least costly of tickets to a local major pro team's home game. Portland All that I can think of saying about Portland's MLB prospects for now are that (a) I think that the Portland Diamond Project's leaders are taking a smartly methodical approach to putting their city in a favorable position to secure an MLB franchise; (b) to me, the PDP's overall vision for a major-league-level ballpark in the City of Roses is well thought out; (c) either Beavers or Pioneers might be a great nickname for a Portland-based MLB team in a vacuum, but both of those nicknames are tainted by being used already by institutions of higher learning within the state of Oregon; and (d) I therefore think that Herons would be the best choice for a nickname for a Portland MLB club, with Stags being a close second and Pines being a surprising -- and surprisingly close -- third.