Originally Posted by Deadguy
Good post. Milwaukee is an anomaly and the attendance that they get is a testament to how great their fans are.
Most studies indicate that an MSA of 2.5 million, in addition to the presence of a large number of corporations, is need to support a MLB franchise. That eliminates almost every market that does not currently have a team, outside of Montreal.
Also, the cities that have a large number of transplants are doomed to fail (I.e. Phoenix, Miami, Tampa), since the people living there are either fans of other teams or are not going to support a local team. This is why Las Vegas is such a horrible option, in addition to the fact that it currently does not have the population to support an MLB franchise.
The last market that was truly viable for baseball was Denver, when it was awarded a franchise in the early 90s, which MLB avoided for so long for obvious reasons. After that, MLB overextended itself and moved into markets that clearly can not support MLB. Right now, contraction, Montreal, or a third NYC team (MSA 21+ million) are the best options for the Rays and the A's.
I agree. The same can be said for the fans of the Packers. There is no way a city the size of Green Bay would be awarded a franchise in today's market. The fans of both those teams are very loyal and should be acknowledged. I know when the NFL had the Packers playing in Milwaukee on occassion, many Green Bay fans were concerned they were trying to move the team.
I remember a few people asking me if I would have become a Cub fan if the SOX would have moved to Florida and I told them I would have become a Brewer fan first. I used to go to 4-5 SOX-Brewers games in Milwaukee every season when they were in the same division. I was hoping with the recent realignment that the Royals would move to the NL Central and the Brewers would move back to the AL Central. I like the idea of Minneapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago being in the same division. Oh well, it won't happen.
Back to the Rays, people have mentioned Orlando, however I think Orlando is similar to Las Vegas in terms of tourist attendance. I eventually think the Rays are going to move to another location in Tampa Bay and probably have to work in some kind of profit sharing with the city of St. Pete.
Personally, I would like to see them move to the downtown Tampa site next to Channelside and the Times Forum and then renovate the Al Lang St. Pete area into their spring training home.