By Thomas Isbister – @IsbisterTom
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Things seemed to be finally changing in a positive direction for the Athletics long quest at a new ballpark. Overnight that all changed. With ESPN’s Jeff Passan reporting that the A’s could leave Oakland if the proposed stadium plans fall through. That puts the question out there, where could the A’s go?
The growing sports metropolis of Las Vegas seems to be the obvious spot for relocation at this moment. Both the Golden Knights and Raiders have seen massive success in Las Vegas and have become large parts of the city’s identity. With a mass migration of people out of California and heading towards Vegas, there is sure to be an existing Athletics fan base already in the city, with lots of room to grow. With how the city has grown, it’s only a matter of time before an MLB team shows up in Las Vegas.
Oakland can follow in the footsteps of the Warriors and move to a different side of the bay. If all the team wants is a new ballpark, heading south in the same geographical area makes perfect sense. They can join the Sharks as the only two professional sports teams in America’s 11th-most populous city. This move would be similar to when the 49ers moved to Santa Clara. The only potential issue with this one would be the MLB stepping in due to the Giants holding rights to that territory.
How does a Seattle and Portland rivalry sound? It would be the only major sport with teams in both of those cities, making for a massive rivalry between the two. It also wouldn’t change much in the divisions and travel for clubs. Right behind Detroit and Boston in population, there are plenty of people to sustain an MLB franchise in Portland. With the added benefit of having the Trail Blazers in the winter, and Baseball in the summer. Portland can enjoy craft beer and sports all year.
Nashville is a very passionate sports town. The minor league team, the Nashville Sounds ranked third in minor league attendance for 2019. The support within the city is there and within the surrounding area. No other baseball team is near Nashville. The Braves and Reds are the closest, making for the possibility of a large territory of Nashville baseball fans. The market size is there too, the population is bigger than other cities like Kansas, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee. The city known for country music is a big sports city and could definitely be an option for the A’s.
Why not make the MLB the first league to be in all three North American countries. The MLB already played games in Mexico, trying to tap into that market. So why not put a team there? There’s nothing to suggest that Mexico City won’t be able to support a team. It is one of the world’s largest cities, with lots of very passionate fans, and existing infrastructure to make the transition easy. There are only two reasons the MLB won’t do it. They most likely won’t want a third country to complicate things (see where the Blue Jays are playing now) and the issues they will have with overstepping the boundaries of the Mexican League.