It’s been a while since MLB went through another expansion phase. No new teams have entered the sport since the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays came into the leagues in 1998.
That expansion brought the number of major league teams to 30, and as such, it can be said to have been incomplete. The number of teams, while even, still left MLB with a lack of balance in the composition of the leagues. The movement of teams between leagues (Milwaukee to the NL, then the Astros to the AL) tried to accommodate the lack of balance in the league structures and schedules, as did the move to introduce interleague play, but there remains, even to this day, oddities that no amount of jiggering with the division formats, unbalanced schedules, and expanded playoffs have been able to smooth out.
Baseball in Harlem: How about something more than a cameo appearance?
So another expansion, which could bring the number of teams up to a far more workable total of 32, might seem like a good idea. The sport–despite doomsaying from the short-sighted–is thriving, thanks to aggressive programs of stadium building, strong marketing efforts, some wise negotiating on both sides of the labor table, and intelligent utilization of digital media to maximize the fans’ experience.
That brings us to the obvious question: where would you put two more teams if you expand MLB today? There are a number of candidates out there for one of the two putative teams, but there’s one market that everyone seems to agree should get another team (even if everyone also says it’s impossible to place a team there for territorial reasons). Let’s, as they say, “start spreading the news.”
Continue reading A Case For The Uptown Nine
By now you’ve all heard the news that the Oakland Raiders will, eventually, drop the first half of that name and trade it in for the city and the brand that is Las Vegas. You’ve probably seen plenty of video clips of reactions to the news; most of those reactions from fans local to Oakland have, most likely, been a mixture of anger, sadness, disappointment, etc. No surprise there.
Las Vegas Raiders fans: a soon-to-be burgeoning breed
However, it might be illuminating to give some attention to reactions from those who, presumably, would have a more sophisticated point of view–namely, people involved in some way with the Raiders’ organization. Since I live in the East Bay, I’ve had the chance to hear some semi-official thoughts on the subject of the team’s relocation, mainly through the venue of the team’s (current) official media outlet, 95.7 The Game.
Let’s just say, some of these reactions have been “interesting,” to say the least.
Continue reading The Awful Whinge Is A Raider
Much has been made in the last couple of days about Adam LaRoche quitting baseball because the White Sox won’t let his son chillax in the clubhouse like he’s the equipment manager’s personal valet.
Frankly, I love this story. Because kids should always be allowed in the clubhouse where their parents work? Hell, no. Continue reading Walk Away, and We All Get Ahead
Remember when the Tampa Bay Rays were doomed, because they let Joe Maddon (a.k.a. baseball’s coaching genius) walk away and join the Chicago Cubs? The thought process was that, no matter how much talent the Rays had–and they’ve let a boatload of talent get away for money reasons–their success was primarily the result of Maddon’s brilliance with the line-up card.
Guess again. Continue reading It Ain’t So, Joe