Should The A’s & Rays Be Allowed To Relocate? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
As word of officials from the Oakland A’s visiting Portland and Las Vegas have hit the news, now comes word that talks between the Tampa Bay Rays and local officials are breaking down. The rag-tag team of the AL East has hinted if a deal does not come to pass soon, the Rays may already have other cities, namely Charlotte and Nashville, bidding for their services. With so much riding on every season and time being so important, should the A’s and Rays be allowed to relocate sooner rather than later; or will Major League Baseball continue to handicap franchises?
The Oakland A’s are already in their third city, having played in Philadelphia and Kansas City before spending just over the last half century in Oakland. Now, with a fan base and corporate sponsorships shrinking along with the need for a new stadium, the franchise has been granted permission by Major League Baseball to relocate, with Portland and Las Vegas at the top of the list of new homes for the franchise.
Reports are, in fact, that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has been willing to jump in and help the team play hard ball with local government officials for years, with this season proving to be the make-or-break point between the team and the city.
Commissioner Manfred also granted permission for the Tampa Bay Rays to play a portion of their home games in Montreal if it was viable since finding a place and the funding for a new stadium was running into several roadblocks. However, when the Players’ Association mentioned that having players call two different countries, not just cities home, the play for having a northern and southern home ballpark fell apart.
Major League Baseball, like most sports leagues, also walks a fine line when it comes to franchise relocation. On one hand, it is always good for leagues to have more cities who desire teams than there are actual teams to go around; a fact that Rob Manfred is using here to create leverage for his franchises against local governments. The downside is that if franchises are forced to move, that’s one less city available to create leverage that MLB could use to expand, something that could be worth billions of dollars to the current team owners.
For generations Major League Baseball has had “big market” and “small market” teams, allowing for a class system that sees teams with several times more revenue competing against other teams with a fraction of the cash flow the upper class as. The luxury tax was designed to level the playing field in MLB, yet there are still teams with player payroll under $50 Million, while others are closer to $200 Million, making the sharing of revenue meaningless without a salary floor since those collecting the tax are not forced to reinvest it into their team.
The Major League Baseball season is ten times longer than the NFL, which means football’s desire for a league that sees every team competitive enough to all have a .500 record is not as likely in baseball. As a result, baseball has the chance to give two small market teams a larger revenue stream, making them more competitive season after season; that despite the A’s and Rays have solid regular seasons with their smaller payrolls in recent years.
Nevertheless, it would be in the best interest of baseball to allow both teams to relocate since it is clear the government and the populations of both Oakland and Tampa Bay are unable to support a Major League team for 81 home games a season. With sports outgrowing the Oakland, and the mistake of putting a team in Tampa Bay, the time has come for Major League Baseball to allow both the A’s and Rays to find new homes and allow them both to join the middle class of the sport, and in the process, probably do even better than they already are against the elites of the game.
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Should The A’s & Rays Be Allowed To Relocate? | TooAthletic.com
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