As an investor in the Portland Diamond Project, former major league infielder Darwin Barney is touting the group’s proposal for a new ballpark in the Oregon city.
Portland Diamond Project has been leading the push to bring Major League Baseball to the city, with a proposed ballpark at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 2 at the center of its effort. The group is led by retired Nike executive Craig Cheek, and includes former Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) announcer Mike Barrett, as well as a long slate of investors headlined by Seattle Seahawks quarterback and former Colorado Rockies farmhand Russell Wilson, along with his wife, the singer and entertainer Ciara.
Barney–an Oregon native and former major league infielder whose eight-season career included stints with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Toronto Blue Jays–is among the investors in the effort. When speaking about the group’s ambitions recently, Barney pointed to some of the strengths that Portland Diamond Project has in place. That includes a plan for a modern ballpark surrounded by mixed-use development, all in a market that Barney and other backers of the Portland Diamond Project believe is ripe for an MLB team. More from the Chicago Tribune:
“The big thing is we all know how to start a baseball team — build a stadium with a roof,” Barney said. “We’re going to be looking at almost $3 billion (for the project). We’ve bought land already. We have 45 acres right on the river in the middle of the city.
“It’s looking really good. We’re trying to in some ways do what Atlanta did (with SunTrust Park), to lock up this area and another section that would give us 90 acres and make it fully functional year-round.
“A big thing for us is we want to be in the city. It’s been an interesting movement. It’s super exciting.”
Thus far, the work undertaken by Portland Diamond Project has boosted Portland’s profile as a potential MLB market, but there are still plenty of unanswered questions at this stage. The group still has plenty of tasks to sort out at the local level before moving forward with any ballpark plans, while MLB has not announced plans for future expansion.
A number of factors will have to fall into place before future expansion could move forward, including resolutions to the ongoing ballpark searches for the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays. The A’s are making progress on a proposed ballpark at Oakland’s Howard Terminal, but still have to clear several layers of approval before that plan can move forward. The Rays, meanwhile, had discussions of a new ballpark in Tampa end late last year and are locked into a lease for St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field that runs through 2027. For the time being, the Rays have not ruled out the idea of trying to find a solution for a new ballpark in St. Petersburg.
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