Not quite sure how enthusiastic this response was, but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says Portland would be on a list of future expansion markets after the Oakland and Tampa Bay ballpark situations are settled.
Many in baseball think expansion is a given in coming years, and as of late Manfred has done nothing to dampen that feeling. His standard response: there will be not active talk of expansion until the A’s and Rays settle plans for new facilities. Expansion is a lot of work, both on the MiLB and MLB levels, and it’s a multi-year process.
But that prior lack of commitment to expansion didn’t stop Manfred from saying Portland was a potential expansion market. Why not? Stephen Bronfman is already soliciting ballpark designs in Montreal, and advocates in San Antonio and Charlotte will surely love this little bit of news. From Oregon Live:
The follow up question from Seattle media was about whether or not their “neighbors to the south” in Portland would be on a short list of cities vying for a professional baseball franchise.
“Portland would be on a list. Yeah,” said Manfred. “I mean, I think Portland is a possibility. If we were to go to 32 we would need a Western time zone team. We’d need at least one more and you can think about the prospects on the west coast probably about as effectively as I can.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement here, but it will be enough for the hardcore Portland fans to begin the process of drumming up support for a new ballpark and a potential ownership group. Go Bevos!