Photo of downtown Nashville, Tennessee at night.

Image Credit: Dimitrio Lewis (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is exploring league options to add new Major League Baseball franchises via expansion. Potential cities that have been mentioned in the past include Portland (Oregon), Montreal (Quebec), San Antonio (Texas), Charlotte (North Carolina), Vancouver (British Columbia), and Las Vegas (Nevada). Commissioner Rob Manfred seems to think that Nashville, Tennessee could be added to that list of potential MLB expansion cities as well.

An expansion would mark Major League Baseball’s first expansion since 1997 when the league added the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa Bay, Florida. An expansion would require Major League Baseball to adjust it’s playoff and divisional formats. However, the league has made it clear that there is no targeted time frame for league expansion.

On the other hand, Nashville Mayor David Briley has stated that he would like to focus on making sure Major League Soccer is successful in Nashville before entertaining the idea of luring a baseball team. Nashville also doesn’t have a plan in place to construct a baseball stadium. The city is currently home to the Nashville Sounds; the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The Nashville Sounds play their home games at First Tennessee Park which cost nearly $100M in public funds to construct in 2015.

Nashville, Tennessee was considered as an expansion city back in 1991 but was quickly eliminated due to the market’s proximity to Cincinnati, Atlanta, and St. Louis. Portland, Oregon recently unveiled their proposed site for a Major League Baseball stadium. The proposed stadium has been dubbed the “Portland Diamond Project” and would be built in the Terminal 2 section just north of downtown Portland. The stadium would feature a retractable roof and waterfront views of the Willamette River. However, Portland, Oregon is the epitome of a small market sports city and is already currently home to the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the MLS’ Portland Timbers. Portland does not have the corporate presence needed to sustain a Major League Baseball team.


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