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Report: Portland MLB Pitch Gathering Momentum

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A report indicates that a push to bring Major League Baseball to Portland is gaining traction, with a potential ownership group in contact with city officials. 

According to a report from John Canzano of the The Oregonian/Oregon Live, a prospective MLB ownership group has been making the rounds with city officials. Portland has long been speculated as a future MLB home, but the Oregon city has encountered issues in past discussions, including a lack of enthusiasm for providing public funds for a new ballpark. However, it is believed that this group will use “mostly private funds” in its downtown ballpark plan.

Additional information could be revealed this week, as the group is expected to issue a news release. More from The Oregonian/Oregon Live:

The ownership group focused on bringing Major League Baseball to Portland met privately with city officials to discuss downtown Portland stadium plans, The Oregonian/OregonLive has learned.

A city hall source confirmed that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is in communication with representatives of the group. A second source indicated that the group is engaged in talks to secure two potential stadium sites.

One question for Portland, or any other prospective MLB city for that matter, is when the best opportunity to obtain a team and new ballpark will arise. Expansion appears to be on MLB commissioner Rob Manfred‘s radar, but any active talk of adding teams to the league will likely wait until after the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays have concluded their ballpark searches. Neither of those clubs are close to finalizing a plan, but both are currently looking to stay in their current home regions. The A’s are canvassing Oakland for a new ballpark site and the Rays pursuing a new facility in Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood. The challenges facing the two teams are distinct, as the A’s have not settled on a site, while the Rays have a site but no firm timeline or funding plan.

The futures of the A’s and Rays are still far from settled, but it would seem that relocation is not a viable option for now. Aside from Portland, MLB could have some other options in the mix, as Montreal’s push to replace the Expos appears to have new momentum and Manfred has spoken highly of San Antonio as a potential expansion market (indeed, a group of investors that includes a high-profile industry veteran has been quietly working behind the scenes in San Antonio).

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