ESPN / Steve Berthiaume: Rays need to get out of Tampa Bay
ESPN Sweet Spot / The Ray Area: Response to Steve Berthiaume
I'm not saying they won't relocate, but it's very difficult in baseball for many reasons. It's hard to relocate in any sport given relocation fees, wondering whether the city you are moving to truly is a better fit, a temporary/permenant facility must be available, etc. In other sports such as football or basketball, there are usually college venues that can atleast temporarily serve until a new facility is built. In hockey, you'll usually need to add a sheet of ice and some locker rooms. The best possible scenario for baseball is usually a minor league facility that can be expanded since most football stadiums are not being built as multi-purpose venues are they once were since a new stadium will take atleast 2-3 years to build. I don't know if there's a college baseball stadium in America that could accomodate an MLB team even on a temporary basis.
What baseball did wrong in Tampa's case, was they should've required as part of the agreement to having a team, a new stadium would have to be built in Tampa or atleast significantly more renovations to the current one(this probably would not have been enough). Learning their mistake, they did make this a non-negotitable part to the Expos coming to DC.
In the last two rounds of expansion, they only really got Colorado right, both on-and-off-the-field. The three other teams have all been successful on-the-field, but they have all failed to sustain thier success off of it for a significant period of time. It will be really interesting to see how the Marlins do have their "honeymoon" this year in the new park.
So they should've gone to DC instead of Tampa, Orioles were very sucessful in the mid-90s, so it would've hurt them more than it hurts them now. Where should MLB move? It took them over three years from when they threatened to end Montreal's association with MLB. What are are the choices: San Juan, Monterrey(Mex), Charlotte (or other area in NC), Nashville (or Memphis), San Antonio, Portland, Indianapolis, back to Montreal? Yeah, no slam dunk choices as in no major US media market dying for a team. Not an NFL-like situation, where you can just leverage LA. And let's say you put one there, where would they play? I think Portland would have the best chance here as I believe their minor league ballpark was built to be expanded. Memphis would also be a good choice, having been on the outside of that.
Best solution is probably staying in Tampa and working with what you have. In hindsight, MLB should stayed at 28 teams, expanded to Arizona instead of Florida for the '93 season and still moved to Montreal to DC(the latter two you could argue vice versa)