A look at the ten most likely places for a new MLB club
It seems that nearly every week, articles surrounding the potential relocation of the A’s and Rays surface. A panel looking into a potential San Jose relocation for the A’s has been gridlocked since 2009 (and remember, the A’s have been looking to move to San Jose for a heck of a lot longer than that). The Rays haven’t been far behind in their efforts to get out of Tropicana Field. Whether it’s the commute for fans to get to the domed stadium, the aesthetics, or the need to be closer to an urban core, it seems that Tampa Bay has been seeking a new ballpark for just as long. Relocation for these two clubs is crucial.
Another thing that comes up less frequently but has extra meaning going into 2013 is expansion. With the Astros moving into the AL West, the American League and National League will now be balanced at 15 clubs a piece. The problem is that 15 is an odd number, and as a result, interleague will become a daily affair. It’s unlikely that’s something that the league wanted, so getting to 32 clubs would take care of that matter. That would mean revenues spread thinner with two extra mouths to feed. Additionally, it’s no given that one or both wouldn’t be revenue-sharing takers, and trying to get ballparks built is no easy feat in this economy. So, 30 is a number that seems to suit the “Big Four” sports leagues in North America. The NBA has it. Ditto for the NHL. Currently, only the NFL—which has the advantage of being highly centralized (revenues are shared more evenly across the franchises) and exceptionally popular—is the exception at 32 clubs.
With Vladimir Guerrero pondering Japan, Bill asks who will be the baseball's final ex-Expo.
A bit less than two years ago, I noted that it had been nearly six years -- a long time, in baseball -- since the Montreal Expos had been a thing in Major League Baseball, and Iwondered who was likely to be the last active player to have worn an Expos uniform. I chose Vladimir Guerrero-- who was in the midst of a momentary resurgence--in a fit of something like nostalgia.
Well, now, in a little more than 24 hours, the team that once was les Expos will kick off its eighth season as the Washington Nationals, and it seems a good time to revisit the question: Do we have a better idea now of who will be the last Expo standing?
Gary Carter's greatest moment in baseball was not any single hit or play, but just saying "Yes" at the right time.
By this morning you have no doubt read countless stories about Gary Carter, his playing career, and his character both on and off the field. The links came flying furiously yesterday, because his passing had been a foregone conclusion for quite awhile. Sadly, in our business that means not only sorrow and sympathy but getting a head start on writing the obituary.
There was extra incentive to start early on Carter, because in this case there are no crocodile tears; he was an important and beloved figure in at least two baseball towns and a legitimate Hall of Famer (for more on this aspect of Carter’s career, see Jay Jaffe’s piece elsewhere on the site). His career .262/.335/.439 rates don’t look like much in our offensively bloated era, but he played in a difficult park at a more austere time. At his peak, which lasted (roughly) from 1977 through 1985, Carter hit .276/.349/.478. Give that a park and era adjustment and maybe grant the Kid a few points of production for the wear and tear of catching, and you have a real star. His OPS+ for those years was 129, his TAv about .300. That is to say nothing of his strong defensive abilities.
I don’t want to focus on Carter’s on-field achievements today, but of the crucial moment of team-building in which he played a key role. That was the day he was traded from the Expos to the Mets. This far removed, it is difficult to remember that the Expos were once a legitimate baseball team, not the bastard stepchild of MLB, existing to make salary-dumping deals such as that which sent John Wetteland to the Yankees for the immortal Fernando Seguignol and bundles of greenback dollars.
As MLB takes over the operations of another franchise, hop in the Wayback Machine to recall what this meant for the Expos.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
As Bud Selig seizes control of the Dodgers, revisit Derek's reaction to the news of an earlier MLB takeover, which originally ran as a "Daily Prospectus" column on December 27, 2001.
The Brewers' stretch-drive decision to have their skipper walk the plank has a successful precedent of sorts.
Though I had promised part two of our look at static teams, I felt it important to pause here and take a look for precedents for yesterday's big news story, the termination of Brewers manager Ned Yost. That was almost a futile quest. As Joe Sheehanwrote yesterday, the move was nearly unprecedented. But it has happened before.
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Can free agency help cure what ails the former star slugger?
Following a trade to Texas that many felt favored the Rangers, Brad Wilkerson has struggled to stay both healthy and productive for two years. Now a free agent, it's tough to gage just how much interest there will be in him given his recent problems. Wilkerson could be a potentially productive and low cost alternative in the outfield for many teams who won't be able to afford the higher priced options this winter though.
Chad Cordero found success in the major league closer role right out of college, but "Chief" has to find a way to keep righties from going yard.
Chad Cordero took what you could call the fast track to the major leagues-he made his debut for the Montreal Expos after just 26 professional innings in the minors, and has not looked back since. He was successful right out of the gate, which helped him keep his space in the majors for an organization searching for a shiny bauble to present to their remaining fans. Cordero is not without his troubles, though-he could stand to throw something besides a fastball to right-handers, and his control is not always what it should be. His PECOTA is very consistent for 2007 through 2011; let's see what we can make of his career thus far.
Current Mets third base coach Manny Acta seemingly came out of nowhere to be a finalist for Arizona's managerial vacancy. Carlos Lugo sat down with this successful Dominican League manager to learn a bit about his managerial philosophy, his background, and his experience in the Expos organization.
Acta managed for three years in the Dominican Winter League: in his first year he made the playoffs managing the Estrellas, and he spent the last two seasons at the helm of the nation's most popular and successful team, the Licey Tigers. Acta won the League's championship and Caribbean World Series in his first year with the Tigers, and lost a seven game Final Series against the Cibao Eagles this past January.
Overwhelmed by the groundswell of warm, reminiscing letters from Expos fans, Jonah Keri shares the best reader recollections, plus two more of his own.
There was one major benefit from all of it, though: The avalanche of e-mails I received, from BP readers, old friends, family, everyone who felt the pain of losing the Expos as much as I did. There were even well-wishers with no attachment to the Expos writing in with encouraging words. The letters I received made me smile, even laugh. For that, I offer my sincere thanks.
In fact, I'm going to go one better. After reading my Expos flashbacks, a slew of readers chimed in with recollections of their own, games, moments and players that left indelible marks, some from 20, 30 years ago. With their permission, I'm going to run those reminiscences here, for other readers to enjoy.
After countless false starts, the Expos look on the brink of finally leaving Montreal. Expo fanatic Jonah Keri bids them a fond farewell, recalling better days at the Big O.
At least that's what they tell us. Of course there is still the outstanding issue of the Expos' former owners and their RICO suit against Major League Baseball, as well as gaining the approval of the notoriously flaky Washington, D.C. city council. Placating Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos is a barrier, though if Jayson Stark's report on the matter is accurate, the Orioles could pull some serious shenanigans under the terms of their settlement with MLB. There's also the matter of precedent: Montreal and Washington baseball fans alike have been jerked around every year for what seems like forever.
Given all those factors and more, I'll refrain from making predictions on the team's future. Given the strong signs that do suggest the team will play its final game in Montreal tonight, however, it seemed appropriate to say some goodbyes.