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23 minutes ago, NicDB said:

 

 

I think this highlights the real problem... too damn many teams. It's completely asinine that expansion is seriously being considered. I would argue that 24 teams is all baseball should actually have, but I'd be more than happy with simply contracting the two Florida teams.

I agree with your feelings on this.  I don’t see a need for expansion from ownership’s point of view.  The expansion of the 1990s was done to collect expansion fees from new ownership groups to pay off the $280 million debt owed to MLBPA from 1980s collusion.  It also created more jobs for players which also helped mend labor relations post 1990 lockout.  The existing 26 owners didn’t need those four markets to increase the value of their own investment.  You look at the four other years where the American League and National League expanded, there were clear incentives for each League (which don’t forget operated as separate entities at the time).  In 1961 the American League expanded to get into Los Angeles.  In 1962 the National League expanded to get back into New York.  Both Leagues expanded in 1969 into smaller markets: the NL got into Canada and the AL replaced the Kansas City franchise.  In 1977 the AL got into the Canada market and back into Seattle (which settled legal matters they faced in the wake of the Pilots bankruptcy and move).  It was a 15 year period of growth in which each league sought to get market share in all corners of the country, and ensure they could compete with one another.  In the modern game I don’t see how a physical presence is necessary to extract value from a place.  Sport is global now.  MLB.TV brings every team to your television. 

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5 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

Right!  Florida is for spring training.

 

 

Let's just say, there's a reason Colorado is the only one of the 90s expansion teams that has actually worked out. Sunbelt teams are a tough sell in general due to the transient nature of the cities they play in. But then add half the teams in baseball having long-existing ties to your market on top of that.

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3 minutes ago, THRILLHO said:

I agree with your feelings on this.  I don’t see a need for expansion from ownership’s point of view.  The expansion of the 1990s was done to collect expansion fees from new ownership groups to pay off the $280 million debt owed to MLBPA from 1980s collusion.  It also created more jobs for players which also helped mend labor relations post 1990 lockout.  The existing 26 owners didn’t need those four markets to increase the value of their own investment.  You look at the four other years where the American League and National League expanded, there were clear incentives for each League (which don’t forget operated as separate entities at the time).  In 1961 the American League expanded to get into Los Angeles.  In 1962 the National League expanded to get back into New York.  Both Leagues expanded in 1969 into smaller markets: the NL got into Canada and the AL replaced the Kansas City franchise.  In 1977 the AL got into the Canada market and back into Seattle (which settled legal matters they faced in the wake of the Pilots bankruptcy and move).  It was a 15 year period of growth in which each league sought to get market share in all corners of the country, and ensure they could compete with one another.  In the modern game I don’t see how a physical presence is necessary to extract value from a place.  Sport is global now.  MLB.TV brings every team to your television. 

 

To your point about adding expansion teams to quell labor disputes. I grew up in a union house in a very unionized city and side with labor in nearly every such conflict. But I feel like your professional pride and integrity has to kick in somewhere.

 

Overexpansion trivializes what it means to be a professional ball player. Especially when it leads to situations like what Balitmore is experiencing right now. It also leads to default hierarchies in who truly gets to contend for titles. Why would anyone want to play in the AL where two playoff spots are decided before the first pitch is even thrown?

 

I would think that with how much the business of baseball has expanded, those players on the outside looking in on a 24-team league could find an alternate career path with minimal adjustment.

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3 hours ago, NicDB said:

 

Let's just say, there's a reason Colorado is the only one of the 90s expansion teams that has actually worked out. Sunbelt teams are a tough sell in general due to the transient nature of the cities they play in. But then add half the teams in baseball having long-existing ties to your market on top of that.

 

The Arizona Diamondbacks haven’t worked out?

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4 hours ago, SFGiants58 said:

Like @Ferdinand Cesarano described, the numbers need context (both with league-wide attendance and demographic/team-running trends). 

 

Also, Expos fans showed up when the team was successful. We keep pointing out that the Rays had to give away tickets during their World Series trip. I’m a Giants fan, and I’m damn sure that the Giants didn’t give away tickets to Candle$hit in 1989 or during the 1960s success period.

 

I’m just not bullish on moving the team (or any team) to Montréal. Maybe merging the Marlins and Rays (with Sternberg taking over in Miami and the team moving to the AL) would be the best solution for both teams, with an expansion into the Carolinas.

 

The whole “Tampa Bay Sweepstakes” and Naimoli salted the earth for baseball in the Tampa Bay Area.

 

I've said this before, but I'm not strong on Montreal for MLB expansion at all. I think Charlotte/Portland is the way to go, but of course there should be no expansion at all right now, maybe ever. However, there currently are some pitiful franchises that need some rejuvenation, and I think the Rays and Marlins are currently perfect examples. Both teams have been poorly run, and not a whole lot of people show up to their games, and I think a move would help out a whole lot.

 

For example, the Charlotte Knights, the highest-attended team in MiLB, averaged 8,980 people a game last year, while the Rays averaged 14,259, and the Marlins averaged a pitiful 10,014. Keep in mind, however, that the Knights had 69 home games that year, and play in a stadium that seats only 10,200, meaning they fill about 88% of their park, while the Rays fill barely 46% (of their 2018 seating, the number with the 2019 seating would be 57%) and the Marlins fill 27% of their stadium. Now, the Dodgers had the highest average attendance that year, with 47,043 attendees, filling 84% of their stadium. Even if Charlotte had the smallest stadium in the MLB (which is currently Tropicana), they'd average about 22,000 people a game, which is higher than 8 franchises in the MLB last year. If they had a stadium the size of Dodger Stadium, they'd average a ridiculous 49,280 people a game, beating the Dodgers by a comfortable 2000 people. Obviously, an 88% fill rate would be a miracle, and the stadium wouldn't be as big as the Dodgers, but keep in mind that the Knights were 64-75 that year, which means they weren't winning, and they don't the "big league luster", but people still showed up. 

 

The point here is, the Rays may not have had the lowest lows the Expos did, but the also didn't experience the highs, and while moving them to Montreal wouldn't help, but there are cities that would improve the situation. I think the solution proposed here (merging the two Florida teams, maybe have them travel between Tampa and Miami, then expanding to the Carolinas) would be great for baseball, and in general better than involving Montreal at all.

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2 hours ago, TheOatsMustFlow said:

 

The Arizona Diamondbacks haven’t worked out?

 

I was gonna say... The D-backs may not always be in the Top 10 in attendance, but they've been serviceable.

 

Though their recent ballpark lease issue does have me a little nervous.

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3 hours ago, QueenCitySwarm said:

I've said this before, but I'm not strong on Montreal for MLB expansion at all. I think Charlotte/Portland is the way to go, but of course there should be no expansion at all right now, maybe ever. However, there currently are some pitiful franchises that need some rejuvenation, and I think the Rays and Marlins are currently perfect examples. Both teams have been poorly run, and not a whole lot of people show up to their games, and I think a move would help out a whole lot.

 

For example, the Charlotte Knights, the highest-attended team in MiLB, averaged 8,980 people a game last year, while the Rays averaged 14,259, and the Marlins averaged a pitiful 10,014. Keep in mind, however, that the Knights had 69 home games that year, and play in a stadium that seats only 10,200, meaning they fill about 88% of their park, while the Rays fill barely 46% (of their 2018 seating, the number with the 2019 seating would be 57%) and the Marlins fill 27% of their stadium. Now, the Dodgers had the highest average attendance that year, with 47,043 attendees, filling 84% of their stadium. Even if Charlotte had the smallest stadium in the MLB (which is currently Tropicana), they'd average about 22,000 people a game, which is higher than 8 franchises in the MLB last year. If they had a stadium the size of Dodger Stadium, they'd average a ridiculous 49,280 people a game, beating the Dodgers by a comfortable 2000 people. Obviously, an 88% fill rate would be a miracle, and the stadium wouldn't be as big as the Dodgers, but keep in mind that the Knights were 64-75 that year, which means they weren't winning, and they don't the "big league luster", but people still showed up. 

 

The point here is, the Rays may not have had the lowest lows the Expos did, but the also didn't experience the highs, and while moving them to Montreal wouldn't help, but there are cities that would improve the situation. I think the solution proposed here (merging the two Florida teams, maybe have them travel between Tampa and Miami, then expanding to the Carolinas) would be great for baseball, and in general better than involving Montreal at all.

How are you accounting for the fact that the Marlins' stadium is only about seven years old?

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3 hours ago, TheOatsMustFlow said:

 

The Arizona Diamondbacks haven’t worked out?

 

1 hour ago, Dolphins Dynasty said:

 

I was gonna say... The D-backs may not always be in the Top 10 in attendance, but they've been serviceable.

 

Though their recent ballpark lease issue does have me a little nervous.

 

Yeah, that has me nervous too.  It's not really about the team wanting to break the lease as much as it has a LOT more to do with doing the major upgrades it does need.  However Maricopa County is not willing to play ball.  It still is a nice stadium but from what I have gathered, it is lacking in areas.  Last I heard the team wanted north of $60M in upgrades, but again, Maricopa County doesn't want to foot the entire bill for it  (which I understand why).

But this article does not leave a lot of hope for me.  The last time I saw a game out there was in 2000 when I was 14 and that is when I for certain became a fan of the team despite living in the DC area.  I seriously hope the team does not move out of Phoenix because it is, from what I remember, in a good location in the city.

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7 hours ago, NicDB said:

Are we sure about this? The Brewers managed it even though they left spring training as the Seattle Pilots and made it all the way to Salt Lake City before they found out they moved to Milwaukee. 

 

And even they barely managed it.  

 

The Brewers had settled on uniforms they were going to use, and then when the call came in Spring Training they didn’t have enough time to have them made so they chose another uniform.  Then there turned out to not be enough time to have that uniform made, so they were forced to take a seam ripper to the Pilots’ uniforms.

 

Which they kinda had to; they’d been building up good will with the name “Milwaukee Brewers” for nearly four years at that point.  Even if the roads didn’t say “Seattle” on them.

 

For the Braves, there wasn’t much time either, but in that case there was also no need to rebrand (the road uniforms hadn’t said “Boston” for years).

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8 hours ago, TheOatsMustFlow said:

 

The Arizona Diamondbacks haven’t worked out?

 

To be perfectly honest with you? No, they haven’t. The amount of taxpayer money they’ve already hemorrhaged in just two decades is one of the biggest reasons they’re having such an issue with the current ballpark, and one of the main sticking points when it comes to future public funding. The team itself has had some good years, no doubt. But it’s only masked the true depth of some of their problems. Their overall low attendance numbers and cost of maintaining facilities in a climate that’s about ten miles from the surface of the sun make them pretty much unsustainable in the long run. 

 

 

I’ll even go this far. Don’t be terribly surprised if the next team to move out of their market entirely isn’t the Rays, but the D Backs. Maricopa County is one of the most shortsighted local governments in the country, and taxpayers are sick of funding these kind of frivolous endeavors. 

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17 hours ago, NicDB said:

 

 

I think this highlights the real problem... too damn many teams. It's completely asinine that expansion is seriously being considered. I would argue that 24 teams is all baseball should actually have, but I'd be more than happy with simply contracting the two Florida teams.

 

The country has changed dramatically since MLB had 24 teams. By not expanding they would be leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue on the table every year by not entering new markets. Miami, Denver, Tampa-St. Pete, and Phoenix are larger markets than a third of the league. Florida is the third most populous state in the country. They would also risk losing interest in those markets for the sport with other leagues setting up shop.

 

The comment on the Dbacks losing money was accurate 15 years ago, but that’s because ownership poured millions into establishing a winner fast. Their threat to leave Arizona because Chase Field is falling apart is just a ploy to get taxpayer funding to renovate it. The same game that’s been played in nearly every other city, including the oldest markets. There aren’t any other cities throwing money at the Rays and Dbacks (yet) so they likelihood either move is slim to none for the foreseeable future. Besides, no person in their right mind would want to leave Arizona for a smaller market in a sport where your local TV contract plays a significant part in deciding success.

 

What MLB should have done with Florida expansion is award teams only after new ballparks were approved. The owners in 1991 chose Miami over other markets because an MLB-ready stadium was already in place and they needed the revenue to payback the MLBPA quickly. But in the long run the stadium limbo directly led to the 1997 and 2005 fire sales which really poisoned the well with fans. Once Huizenga was done with MLB after the 94 strike’s inability to put a salary cap in place, his goal was to win a World Series and lock-up a new ballpark he could then sell the team for at a nice profit. When he couldn’t, he stripped the team and sold it.

 

MLB should have played the long game with Miami and held off expansion until a new ballpark was in place. Same with Tampa Bay. The Trop was obsolete the day it opened and a relic by 1995 when the Rays were awarded. It should be no surprise their expansion brethen have been more successful with new downtown parks from the start. The new ballpark or bust strategy is certain to play out during the next round of expansion.

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11 hours ago, Marlins93 said:

How are you accounting for the fact that the Marlins' stadium is only about seven years old?

I don't see how that changes anything. If anything, their attendance should've increased with a brand new stadium in downtown Miami, which it did, in 2012, the first year in the new stadium. The age of the stadium shouldn't have anything to do with the team's stats regarding attendance. Dodger Stadium is like 60 years old and still brings people in, and the Braves' current success at SunTrust Park shows that new stadiums are also successful, as long as the team is actually a part of the community, unlike the Marlins. Admittedly, the team has been a poorly run mess for its entire existence, but that shouldn't change that the constant firesales and shaky ownership has permanently damaged the reputation the Marlins had with the community. The point is, the Marlins & Rays consistently rank as last in their respective leagues in terms of attendance. That's not because they've had bad teams (the Rays have been to the World Series and the Marlins have won two, for God's sake), but because of poor decision making regarding timing, stadium placement, and a simple lack of interest among the general populaces of Florida.

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10 hours ago, marlinfan said:

 

The country has changed dramatically since MLB had 24 teams. By not expanding they would be leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue on the table every year by not entering new markets. Miami, Denver, Tampa-St. Pete, and Phoenix are larger markets than a third of the league. Florida is the third most populous state in the country. They would also risk losing interest in those markets for the sport with other leagues setting up shop.

 

The comment on the Dbacks losing money was accurate 15 years ago, but that’s because ownership poured millions into establishing a winner fast. Their threat to leave Arizona because Chase Field is falling apart is just a ploy to get taxpayer funding to renovate it. The same game that’s been played in nearly every other city, including the oldest markets. There aren’t any other cities throwing money at the Rays and Dbacks (yet) so they likelihood either move is slim to none for the foreseeable future. Besides, no person in their right mind would want to leave Arizona for a smaller market in a sport where your local TV contract plays a significant part in deciding success.

 

What MLB should have done with Florida expansion is award teams only after new ballparks were approved. The owners in 1991 chose Miami over other markets because an MLB-ready stadium was already in place and they needed the revenue to payback the MLBPA quickly. But in the long run the stadium limbo directly led to the 1997 and 2005 fire sales which really poisoned the well with fans. Once Huizenga was done with MLB after the 94 strike’s inability to put a salary cap in place, his goal was to win a World Series and lock-up a new ballpark he could then sell the team for at a nice profit. When he couldn’t, he stripped the team and sold it.

 

MLB should have played the long game with Miami and held off expansion until a new ballpark was in place. Same with Tampa Bay. The Trop was obsolete the day it opened and a relic by 1995 when the Rays were awarded. It should be no surprise their expansion brethen have been more successful with new downtown parks from the start. The new ballpark or bust strategy is certain to play out during the next round of expansion.


The thing is... the whole reason such thing as a commissioner of baseball even exists is so that the integrity of the game is protected against purely financial interests.  And I don't think it's a coincidence that baseball's expansion patterns tend to correlate almost to a T to where the commissioner started becoming more of a figurehead who acted in the interests of the owners.  This is a problem with major pro sports in general, which have all become more of a television product than an athletic competition.  Again, what good does it do ANYONE when a team like the 2018-2019 Orioles exists? 

Now every league at least a handful of teams that were either forced into a big market where there was no demand, or in a small market that lacks the infrastructure to make them consistent contenders and sinks like a rock when the team falls on hard times.  It also kills the fan experience by making the sport harder to follow because of all the teams.  As a kid I could have told you all four division leaders, plus how many games back their closest competition was.  Now I don't bother to watch anyone but the Brewers other than when I'm at work.  And I don't know who's leading anything but the NL Central.  

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1 hour ago, QueenCitySwarm said:

I don't see how that changes anything. If anything, their attendance should've increased with a brand new stadium in downtown Miami, which it did, in 2012, the first year in the new stadium. The age of the stadium shouldn't have anything to do with the team's stats regarding attendance. Dodger Stadium is like 60 years old and still brings people in, and the Braves' current success at SunTrust Park shows that new stadiums are also successful, as long as the team is actually a part of the community, unlike the Marlins. Admittedly, the team has been a poorly run mess for its entire existence, but that shouldn't change that the constant firesales and shaky ownership has permanently damaged the reputation the Marlins had with the community. The point is, the Marlins & Rays consistently rank as last in their respective leagues in terms of attendance. That's not because they've had bad teams (the Rays have been to the World Series and the Marlins have won two, for God's sake), but because of poor decision making regarding timing, stadium placement, and a simple lack of interest among the general populaces of Florida.

My point is more along the lines that the stadium is still technically brand spanking new and logistically speaking it does not seem realistic for MLB to even consider relocation. The city and county would also fight it tooth and nail even if the financing arrangement was controversial. MLB isn't going to abandon a brand new, state of the art ballpark because of low attendance figures that can most readily attributed to distasteful ownership practices.

 

MLB teams in Florida face a lot of obstacles that other regions don't, but the stadium itself sure seems like the anchor that would prevent relocation. This is what could keep the Marlins in Florida and force the Rays to relocate, even if the latter has a more competent front office.

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