If you would've asked me as a kid where to put some more teams I would've pulled up a top 50 cities population map like most anyone else, but we all know that the questions get lengthier once asked, "if you build it will they come?".
Good article from Baseball Prospectus. After the turn of the century, Portland had a team bid and you can look at the document submitted to MLB for their pitch:
Population Base per Franchise statistic is a tight squeeze for baseball, which requires the most days and dollars of sports. Anyway, Mr. Maury Brown's rankings of more-likelies sustainability-wise, from top to bottom:
Northern New Jersey:
Offhand, I remember Virginia really grabbing for the Expos around when D.C. snagged 'em up. And San Antonio going for a Marlins grab. Ugh. Florida. Miami, it's not the Dallas Rangers. Devil Yankee Rays.
Minor League Locations
""Minor league baseball is highly regulated," Rich Neumann told council. "The number of teams is fixed. Only 160 communities in the United States have minor league baseball.""
Baseball is patient and romantic. And the courting for her isn't easy. She's not some cheap broad. She's could be a vampire though. I don't know what kind of pretty handsome one would have to be to land her if they didn't have her type of money.
Aesthetically I like Portland, Charlotte and Nashville. New Orleans is pretty I'm sure. Indy is probably willing to claim turf away from Cub, Cardinal and Reds country. Maybe, just maybe Vancouver and/or Montreal in my lifetime. Not that I think the time is ripe or anything close like that, as more knowledgeable people point out. I'm not thrilled about more Texas, New York (Jersey/Brooklyn) or California teams but populations there indicate it can work. Oakland could go to San Jose or Sactown. The Inland Empire could probably handle it but there's enough love going around for SD, L.A. and the old California Angels. Brooklyn would be as nostalgic as it gets. San Antonio as well as Austin are pretty places for it. Geographically, the only way I could see baseball in the heart of Texas making the most people happy would be for a stadium in between the San Antonio-Austin commute with some I-35 improvement and a Central Texas name....... or a move of Ranger uniforms down the highway with a new look and name for Dallas metro.
A lot of what I'm blog tossing around is based on my thinking of the future based with prosperous population and economic growth. Not much about MLB expansion I'm pointing out is anywhere necessarily original. I like the thought-trees of baseball sprawling across the map. And the globe. By 2100 AD there could be a Monterrey and West Texas team for all we know. I personally enjoy looking at the more immediate opportunities geographically and money-wise like Charlotte and Portland but the map-spread of baseball doesn't look to change soon unless you're looking for the Devil Rays and A's to uproot. If a pure Floridian sports fan took the pains to read through my blogs I wouldn't necessarily hate them for hating me. The dollar realities suck. The fan base there has a lot more ways and reason to get out of the house than a Twins fan. I would've preferred San Antonio over Jacksonville to snag football out of there too. I would've probably preferred Jags in Canada or Portland instead. But anyway,...before I get carried away: From time to time my Ohio mind can resist the aesthetic temptation of putting a team on every corner of Florida. And you better bet MLB thinks mind over heart. Especially true when we read into the realities of market share (especially Media) and revenue share and wariness of diluted talent on the stage.
Gun to my head today: Portland Athletics and the Charlotte or Carolina Whatchamacallit's (born in Tampa).
Expansion: Monterrey. To balance this out? .... gun to my head? ..... a Heartland (Regional (hometown-travel) team "based" "tented" out of OKC, Witchita and Omaha. I'm not sure how this can work well (monetarily/logistically) for baseball, but since I've touched on a little of the words "nostalgia" and "aesthetic", what better venues for a carnival, campy, tent atmosphere than Middle America lugging their equipment through the bread basket?
I've given more thought on Regional teams bringing in more fans for the other sports, like the weekly displays of football. Baseball is a tougher one for no fixed home I think. Whatever seating is made available for current non-MLB towns could make up ground by more farmtowns and apple pie big cities tuned into MLB for their own Central team? Would Vegas help host some "home" or "tent (camp)" games for a Western big league ball alongside, SLC, Albuquerque and San Antonio? Will MLB cozy up to this bachelor'esque show instead of worrying about diving into a questionable small-market relationship? Regional teams for MLB is a fun little gun-to-my head exercise anyway.
Would you like a New Orleans, Mobile and Tampa Bay shared team called the Coastal Run Rays? How about the Gulf Armada? Better than nothing, right, Tampa and New Orleans?
Please share your choices or thoughts. Hell, draw me up some logos of a future franchise. Any sport.