The fact that the Oakland Athletics are making plans to move to Las Vegas won’t stop the Portland Diamond Project from trying to bring a Major League Baseball team to Rose City.
According to Oregonlive, The Portland group, which was started by Craig Cheek and has backers like Russell Wilson and Ciara, had said before that it was open to either moving or growing if that was the best way to get a team.
But Mike Barrett, the managing director of the Portland Diamond Project and a former broadcaster for the Portland Trail Blazers, told that the group’s past talks with the A’s made it clear that owner John Fisher didn’t want to sell the team.
“For us, acquisition was always a big part of this,” Barrett said Thursday. “It became less attractive when there was no ownership and equity in the team. In many ways, this can be seen as a positive. Perhaps this will get us closer to a point where we’re having serious discussions about expansion. That’s what we’ve always wanted.”
Now that the A’s have signed a binding agreement to buy 49 acres of land near the Las Vegas Strip for a new ballpark, the focus is set to shift to growth.
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MLB has 30 teams right now, but last summer, Commissioner Rob Manfred said that he “would love to get to 32 teams.”
Craig Cheek, who started the Portland Diamond Project, said in a statement Thursday that his group thinks the A’s decision is a big step forward for MLB.
“Commissioner Manfred has been very consistent in his messaging that the league would like to expand to 32 teams, but needs the A’s and Rays’ situations to be settled,” Cheek said in the statement. “This is terrific news to us as it begins to help crystallize potential timing for league expansion, which we have every intention on pointing the league toward Oregon and the Portland metro area for that West Coast fit.”
Cheek also said that his group is working hard on things like buying real estate to get ready for possible growth of the league.
Below is a Twitter post related to this news-
Portland isn’t the only city that wants an MLB team. Charlotte, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee, Salt Lake City, and Montreal are also likely to be interested.