While there was a lot of debate over the impact of baseball’s new rules for the 2023 season, the proof is in the numbers. As in, attendance numbers. They have significantly increased compared to years past. Is MLB expansion on the horizon, too?
Whenever MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was asked about that in the past, he gave a version of the same answer. Once stadium issues are resolved for the Athletics and Rays, then they’ll talk about it.
Well, both of those things are on the verge of happening. The Athletics are set to move to Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the Rays recently announced plans for a $1.3 billion stadium in St. Petersburg.
Here’s what USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale said in his weekend notebook regarding expansion:
Now that the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium woes are on the verge of being resolved with a new $1.3 billion ballpark in St. Petersburg and the Oakland A’s headed to Las Vegas, MLB will begin serious talks with interested cities for expansion next year, which could take place as early as the 2028 season.
Nashville remains the clear-cut favorite for one team, while the second city remains wide-open between Montreal, Salt Lake City, Oakland, Portland and Charlotte. The expansion fee is expected to be $2.1-$2.2 billion.
There are technically six cities vying for two spots. However, Bob is telling us it’s really five cities vying for one spot.
I think it would be poetic for Oakland to get a team back right after the A’s bolted for Vegas. Call me a purist, but I’d also like to see Montreal get a team again. I wonder how much being former MLB cities would help (or potentially hurt) their cause in this situation.
Either way, the long wait regarding MLB expansion from 30 to 32 teams finally seems to be over. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out and who eventually wins the right to hand the league billions of dollars.