5 things you need to know about MLB to Portland from Mike Barrett
Is there a future owner behind all of this?
Mike Barrett explains, as best he can, the situation behind the scenes that is the would-be owners:
"It won't be announced for a while...yes (there is an owner)...it will likely be some local (money), we don't want it to be a one-check thing from someone not from here. But we don't know that part of it. But yes, that is there. People can rest assured. We're not throwing this against the wall to see if it sticks. We wouldn't be putting our credability on the line like we are and our futures for something that was completely unknown in that regard."
About the two possible sites that were announced
Two locations were released as part of the press release from The Portland Diamond Project, one in the Vaughn Street Park area in NW Portland and the other just north of Moda Center. Barrett provides some details about the ball park site options:
"Those aren't the only two sites. Those are the two that have been offered on. I just want to make sure people are aware of that. There are others we are looking at."
Pictured: The site of the Portland Public School offices north of Moda Center that is one of the potential sites
Relocation or Expansion
The As and Rays are both in trouble and may be looking for new homes, but baseball is also considering expansion teams. So which will it be? Barrett explains both options:
"The unique time that we are in right now...number one, baseball is very reluctant to relocate. They always have been. Very traditional in some ways. But this time in history, we're aware that there are two teams that are struggling and need some help. But we also know that Commissioner Manfred has talked a lot about expansion and they are going to get to 32 (teams). So we sit at kind of a rare time in baseball history in that there are opportunities and it isn't just one. So that's the good part. So that's why we're confident, I think Commissioner Manfred said in Seattle...'we need another Pacfic time zone team and you guys can figure out the options as well as I can.' When he was asked about Portland specifically. So that has us feeling confident."
Pictured: The Oakland As have struggled with attendance and ballpark quality over the years.
The ballpark would be a mixed-use area
Dwight Jaynes brings up the concept of a ballpark area that is more than just a ballpark that the press release talked about. Barrett clarifies...
"Yes, completely. That's what we came out with in the release yesterday. We're talking about housing units, trying to help the city solve for some of the challenges it's facing and if somebody on the private side can come in and do that...if we can help him (the Mayor) solve and check-off some of the things on the (his) priority list that's all we want to do. We want it to be something that isn't just a ballpark....This is going to be a district and that's what we want it to be."
Pictured: A drawing of SunTrust Park, the new stadium in Atlanta that was built as a mixed-use area.
Aaron Fentress wants to know about the size of the ballpark, which was reported at 32,000 in capacity which would make it one of the smallest in MLB.
"Everything can flex out, but yeah...The plan is 32ish and you can flex out to 35, 36 (thousand) for an All-Star game or a weekend series vs. the Yankees and that's been the plan and the days of the massive 55, 60 thousand seat parks it just isn't there anymore...That's seeming to be more the model now...That's more of the model of today's park."
Pictured: Tropicana Park in Tampa Bay, currently the smallest park in MLB with a capacity just over 31,000