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Baseball has been a staple on the American sporting landscape for over a century, but in recent years, its competitors have passed it by. the NFL, NBA, NHL, and even the MLS - ever since Lionel Messi's blockbuster transfer to Inter Miami - have all passed them by. Viewership in recent years has steadily declined and as such, the powers that be in charge of the MLB may look to relocate a number of teams to spark some life into the league before it's too late.
There can be no denying that fans have remained constant in their love and support for their local teams, so when talk of relocation comes up, it can be hard for some to accept. However, the reality is that sometimes franchises are forced to find a new home for one reason or another. Just take a look at the Oakland Athletics, who were the talk of the sporting world just a few weeks ago.
The A's have struggled for years to get a new stadium built in Oakland and as such, were given permission to seek relocation. Las Vegas has been snapping up sports teams in recent years and they were only too happy to poach the Californian city once more, just as they did when they took the Raiders from the city a couple of years ago. Sin City will build a new stadium for their new franchise, and they plan on having the A's in a brand-new ballpark in Vegas in 2028.
So with the Athletics making the move, we take a look at four other teams that could follow in their footsteps.
The Rays have been playing in Tropicana Field for over two decades and have been itching to move to a new stadium for a number of years now. However, the location and financing of such an endeavor have been a challenge. While it's unclear exactly where the Rays could end up, one possibility that has gained significant traction is the prospect of them relocating to Montreal.
The 514 has expressed interest in bringing baseball back to the city and why wouldn't they? Montreal has a notoriously passionate fanbase and it already has existing infrastructure in place. As such, it wouldn't be surprising to see a major MLB franchise head to the Paris of North America, and it could well be the Rays that call the city their home.
The Rays are currently enjoying an impressive season thus far. They lie in second place in the AL East and as such, the latest MLB lines and futures currently make them the +850 sixth favorites for glory this term. If they could claim their first World Series triumph in franchise history, that may well be enough to keep them in Tampa Bay once and for all.
The Diamondbacks are currently playing in Chase Field, which - like the aforementioned Tropicana field - is also over two decades old in crumbling. They too have expressed interest in either renovating the stadium or building a new one, but both options come with high costs. As such, the storied franchise may well have to ditch its Phoenix home, and one city that has emerged as a potential destination is Vancouver.
The diamond in the British Columbian crown already has a strong baseball community and a ready-made state-of-the-art stadium in the form of the BC Place, which could easily be converted into a ballpark. With no current MLB team in Canada, the Diamondbacks could tap into a whole new fanbase hungry for elite-level baseball, and it remains to be seen whether it is they or Montreal that will get the nod first.
The Marlins have struggled with attendance and finances since they moved into their new stadium in 2012. While the possibility of relocating seems unlikely, they may well have no other choice. San Antonio, Texas, has been mentioned as a possible destination thanks to it being the seventh-largest city in the United States, and its population is only growing further.
San Antonio certainly has the infrastructure and fan base to support a team and as the NBA's Spurs are the only other major team in the area, Alamo City looks like an exciting proposition.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been a beloved team in the Steel City for over a century and as such, they remain unlikely to relocate. However, recent financial struggles have sparked discussions of relocation with owner Bob Nutting publically expressing an interest in the option. Some believe that Oklahoma City could well be a potential destination.
This idea may come as a surprise to some, as OKC is more commonly associated with college sports rather than professional ones. One only needs to look at just how beloved the Sooners are to get an idea. However, the city has recently invested in infrastructure and amenities to attract major sports franchises. And let's not forget that they managed to entice the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics to make the switch back in 2008, could the Prates be next on the list?
Chris Sloan is a former baseball league commissioner and travel baseball coach who has made significant contributions to the sport. In 2018, he founded selectbaseballteams.com, a website that helps parents find youth and travel baseball teams in their local areas. Since its launch, the website has experienced impressive growth, offering a wealth of resources including teams, news, tournaments, and organizations. Chris's unwavering passion for baseball and his innovative approach to connecting parents with quality baseball programs have earned him a respected reputation in the baseball community, solidifying his legacy as a leading figure in the world of youth and travel baseball.
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