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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.

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New York is in a state of Linsanity, which brings to mind the craze of one particular rookie phenom.

I am embarrassed to confess that at one time I thought Tom Seaver deserved the 1981 Cy Young Award over Fernando Valenzuela. Seaver had lost one of the closest votes ever to the Dodgers rookie, tying him in first place votes 8-8, but lost on a second-place vote, 70-67. Perhaps it was my sympathy for a great pitcher against an upstart, or simply my natural cynicism about any fad, and Fernandomania! was definitely that, though a bandwagon his fans were right about. I don’t know enough about basketball and the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin to tell you if he’s going to be a flash in the pan or a lasting contributor like Valenzuela was, but the excitement greeting his unexpected rise has some of the same flavor to it.

Thirty-one years later, it’s easy to forget just what an incredible debut Valenzuela had. The chubby 20-year-old had pitched 17 2/3 scoreless innings in relief in 1980 after posting a 3.10 ERA at San Antonio of the Texas League, a circuit in which the average ERA was 4.25. Flash forward to Opening Day 1981, when Jerry Reuss had to pull out of his scheduled start at home against the Astros and Joe Niekro. Instead of substituting Burt Hooton, Bob Welch, Rick Sutcliffe, or any other pitcher hanging around the staff, manager Tommy Lasorda went with the kid. The results were instantaneous, the lefty screwballer pitching a complete game shutout.

From there, it would be about six weeks before Valenzuela didn’t pitch a complete game or even recorded a loss. In his first eight starts, Valenzuela went 8-0 with seven complete games, five of them shutouts. In those 72 innings, he allowed just four runs (0.50 ERA) on 43 hits while walking 17 and striking out 68. He was less fun after that, posting a 3.66 ERA—above the league average—in the 17 starts remaining in the strike-truncated season, albeit with another three shutouts.

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Which baseball player measures up to the Linsanity sweeping the nation?

Football season is over. Spring training is still a few days away. That means, for multi-sport fans like me, there is little choice but to get immersed in college basketball and the NBA. And doing so during the past week meant going Linsane.

Point guard Jeremy Lin emerged as the New York Knicks’ savior, reviving a team that was struggling to stay afloat in the absence of stars like Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. A Harvard graduate who went undrafted and was rejected by two teams, Lin certainly did not take the beaten path to fame, but that only adds to the intrigue of his timely breakout. Hoops Analyst writer Ed Weiland is one of the few who can claim he saw this coming.

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May 5, 2004 12:00 am

The Return of Swamp Thing

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Neil deMause

Leaving aside whether anyone should take seriously statements made by the guy who said he was moving the White Sox to Tampa, on the face of it the idea is a no-brainer. In terms of market size, the New York metro area is mind-bogglingly huge, dwarfing every other market in American baseball. Even splitting the market in half (OK, more like 65/35) the Yankees and Mets each have enough TV-rights firepower to blow away the rest of the league at free-agent time. You could put a team in Jersey and three more in Brooklyn, and each of the six area franchises would still have a larger populace to draw on than the likes of Milwaukee or Cincinnati.

"It's gone from something I didn't think was possible to something that actually could happen," Zoffinger told the Newark Star-Ledger. "Jerry Reinsdorf told me that baseball is interested in the Meadowlands because we are building a family entertainment center and bringing mass transit to the site."

Leaving aside whether anyone should take seriously statements made by the guy who said he was moving the White Sox to Tampa, on the face of it the idea is a no-brainer. In terms of market size, the New York metro area is mind-bogglingly huge, dwarfing every other market in American baseball. Even splitting the market in half (OK, more like 65/35) the Yankees and Mets each have enough TV-rights firepower to blow away the rest of the league at free-agent time. You could put a team in Jersey and three more in Brooklyn, and each of the six area franchises would still have a larger populace to draw on than the likes of Milwaukee or Cincinnati.

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