I know this question runs across fans minds from time to time. Whether or not we hear about it any where or read it in the papers, you can bet discussions have been held throughout the years regarding expansion in baseball. Major League Baseball stands at 30 teams at the present time, If there were ever to be expansion again it would have to add two teams just to keep scheduling and leagues even. There could also be relocation for some franchises that are struggling although, unlike the two other major sports, Football and Basketball.
Baseball hasn’t seen many team relocations in the past decade with the last being the Montreal franchise moving to Washington, D.C. in 2005. If Major League baseball did ever decide to move a franchise again or decided to expand there are several U.S. cities that could benefit with the gain of a team in their respective city and that have many positives that could attract a major league franchise.
Lets take a look at five of the cities that could merit discussion in baseball expansion or relocation talk. You can basically break down possible cities for expansion by population and economy, but I’m going to think a little outside the box here and take a look at some of the cities without any major league sports teams at all that are big enough to support a Major League franchise. Being a city without another major sports franchise there is more opportunity for growth and the hunger just may be there for the entertainment of baseball played at its highest level.
Among these five cities we have Albuquerque, New Mexico. Besides being the largest city in the state of New Mexico with a population of 545,852 and the 32nd largest city in the U.S., Albuquerque also is listed as the sixth fastest growing U.S. city. Nearly half the population of the state of New Mexico lives in or near Albuquerque. This is an area that could be ripe for baseball and already has shown to be able to support a 12,500 seat stadium that is currently home to the Triple A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Albuquerque should be high on the list of choices of cities without Major League baseball.
El Paso, Texas would have to be high on the list also with a population of 649,121 it is the sixth largest city in Texas. Although the Majors already has two teams located in the state of Texas, El Paso is currently the second largest city in the United States with out any major sports teams. The people of El Paso have shown to support sports by hosting the annual college football Sun Bowl game which draws big crowds every December. El Paso could very easily be among the cities considered for baseball expansion.
Another more controversial choice could be the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas is the most populous city in the state of Nevada. Although, Las Vegas is a renowned resort city for vacationers it is also large enough to support a major league franchise. The major draw back would be the gambling that the city is well famous for. I’m not sure baseball would be willing for its players to be so close to that type of industry especially after the Pete Rose gambling scandal years ago. That being said, it would still have to be on the list of cities without any major sports teams.
Louisville, Kentucky is large enough to warrant looking in to as well. Louisville is the largest city in the state of Kentucky. Louisville has a population of 741,096 and is already home to the company that makes the Louisville Slugger baseball bats. The city also supports a Triple-A baseball team of the Cincinnati Reds. The nations 17th largest city, Louisville is also home to the annual Kentucky Derby horse race that draws crowds well over 100,000 spectators every year.
The city of Omaha, Nebraska could also be added to the discussion list. Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska and has shown its passion for baseball by anually hosting the college world series of baseball championship every year since 1950. It is the nations 40th largest city with a population of 408,958 and even better there are more than 1.2 million people living within a 50 mile radius of the city of Omaha. The city already supports the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and could be primed for the next step up.
Sure, this is all just the opinion of a mere baseball fan, but next time Major League baseball seriously considers expanding or moving franchises then why not consider one of the cities above where your sport is the main attraction and it puts baseball front and center as the only major professional sports attraction in town. It could quite possibly be a recipe for success.
Please read these other related page Baseball Expansion: Let's Look At It More Realistically.