Russ’s Rants - Vancouver Baseball Fever – Catch It!
If major league baseball was going to expand in the near future I would think that Vancouver would be a natural choice for a lot of reasons. The strong Canadian dollar is one of them, a rival for the Seattle Mariners would be another (I would put Vancouver in the National League to balance it out) and with the addition of this new franchise the MLBPA would be getting players a lot of new jobs, well sort of, and as a result they would be fine with the deletion of the designated hitter. In the end there would be no jobs gained, no jobs lost, a balanced league and Canada would get back another team.
With this addition Arizona would move, divisions could get re-aligned and the game would have lost the DH in an effort to bring baseball back to its strategic roots by doing away with a spot on a team that is basically there so incomplete players could have a job.
The team would be able to play at BC Place (Where the CFL’s Lions play) that would give that venue 81 more games to sell, 54,500 excited fans, and a strong sports town would now get a taste of baseball which would then create more interest in Western Canada, which would then get the fans of Toronto all upset and yet again there would be another rival to add to “Interleague Play” and it could be called the “Battle of Canada” and the beer companies could have a field day with promotions. MLB would rake in the dough.
BC Place has a retractable roof, they have a great economy in that city, and dormant Expos fans would have a new team to cheer for, and I believe that most would be in favor of doing that.
Possible names? The Vancouver Vipers, The Vancouver Heavy Timbers, or maybe the Vancouver Mounties (played in the PCL in the 1950’s). Vancouver has had a baseball team a few times before and a lot of folks there really miss it. Vancouver is a great sports city and MLB needs to add an infusion of cash and excitement to the sport. Let’s face it attendance is sagging and the American dollar continues to dip below the Canadian dollar more and more.
The Rays have a lease until 2027 but maybe a group out of Vancouver could buy out the lease and move the team, it’s certainly a backup plan since the other option seems to be contraction for Tampa right around the 2014 season, then the MLBPA would see a reduction in jobs and they won’t want that.
Either way Vancouver is an intriguing option. I think their time has come and I would like to see them get a team. BC Place was built with that in mind and the locals would really support it.