COVID-19 could force MLB expansion, is Portland Diamond Project ready?

COVID-19 could force MLB expansion, is Portland Diamond Project ready?

COVID-19 has cut a wide path through professional sports and pro leagues are still not sure what they are going to do in order to get started again.

Foremost of these is Major League Baseball, the true “Boys of Summer” sport. Owners and players are still negotiating terms for kickstarting an aborted season and whatever happens, there is no question that both sides are losing a lot of money.

Which is very bad for them but could prove to be very beneficial for the Portland Diamond Project.

Expansion in baseball over the years has often not been about the simple need for adding worthy cities or creating more jobs for players. It’s frequently been used as the quickest and best cash grab for owners facing big debt.

Which is exactly the situation those owners are going to be facing soon -- whether they play a shortened season (likely without fans in their ballparks) or not.

Time for a quick look back:

The players’ strike in 1994, which cost millions, sparked an expansion wave in 1998, with the new franchises having to begin paying their franchise fees in 1995. A previous expansion followed a collusion settlement with the players’ association that meant owners needed to come up with a lot of quick cash.

There hasn’t been expansion in 22 years because baseball owners have been running a money machine, with rich revenue from television (regional sports networks, especially), merchandise and their successful digital presence. They didn’t want to share their pot of gold and didn’t need the quick cash infusion.

Now, though, those expansion fees are going to look very tempting to owners who are likely going to be decimated by the pandemic.

It is estimated an expansion fee these days would be priced somewhere between $1 and $1.5 billion. Adding two teams at $1.5 billion would net the 30 existing franchises $50 million apiece -- which would do a lot to take the sting out of the expected losses this summer.

It would also mean MLB could go with a sensible eight-team, four-division setup that could mean less travel for each team, appeasing players and saving money.

Of course, realignment like that would require progressive thinking baseball may not be capable of conjuring. More likely they’d try eight, four-team divisions -- so more teams could win “pennants.”

Whatever.

Could the Portland Diamond Project handle that sort of heavy expansion fee, then build its own ballpark, too?

It is believed the answer is yes. They seem confident -- they were likely going to have to pay in the neighborhood of a billion dollars (or more) for an existing team. The Miami Marlins sold for $1.2 billion in 2017.

The PDP has been quiet of late but very active behind the scenes, staying in touch with its contacts inside MLB and continuing to do its due diligence on local ballpark sites.

But competition for those expansion teams is expected to be heated, with new cities popping up all the time. Lately, Charlotte, Vancouver, B.C., Nashville and even New Orleans have been mentioned along with standbys Portland, Montreal and Las Vegas.

But in a time when the Oakland A’s can’t even make their stadium rent payments and a lot of teams are going to be going from riches to rags, expansion seems to be the easiest and quickest way to solve MLB’s looming financial problems.

It’s up to the PDP to be ready when the moment comes. And I believe it is.

Portland Diamond Project secures new home for the 1921 Jantzen Beach Carousel

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Portland Diamond Project

Portland Diamond Project secures new home for the 1921 Jantzen Beach Carousel

The Portland Diamond Project has partnered with Restore Oregon to secure a new home for the 1921 Jantzen Beach Carousel, they announced Tuesday afternoon via their Twitter.

From the renders released on their social media, it appears the historic carousel will be installed near the new baseball stadium. 

The carousel was built in 1921 by  C.W. Parker and closed in 2012 when the Jantzen Beach shopping center underwent a $50 million renovation. The mall's owners promised to house the carousel in an empty, climate-controlled store where it would be restored once construction finished. However, it never returned.

Restore Oregon added the carousel to their list of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places shortly after. In 2017, the mall's owners announced they donated the carousel to Restore Oregon who began a search for a permanent home. Well, they found a partner. 

In November 2016, the Portland Diamond Project signed an agreement in principle to develop the Port of Portland’s 45-acre Terminal 2 Property as the future home for Portland baseball.

[RELATED: Portland Diamond Project reveals new renderings of proposed ballpark]

Darwin Barney named manager of the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A minor league team

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USATI

Darwin Barney named manager of the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A minor league team

Darwin Barney isn't done with professional baseball just yet.

The former-Oregon State Beaver has been named manager of the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A minor league team, according to a team release.

Barney played high school baseball at Southridge High School before winning back-to-back national championships in Corvallis in 2006 and 2007.  Then, he played eight seasons in Major League Baseball for Cubs, Dodgers and Blue Jays, In 2012, he won the National League Golden Glove Award after finishing the season with a 0.996 fielding percentage. 

In October 2018, the Portland Diamond Project announced that Barney had joined the project as an investor and advisor. 

The Portland Diamond Project tweeted out their congratulations to their advisor shortly after the news. 

It appears that Barney still plans on helping get Major League Baseball to Portland.

Barney's debut as the manager of the Nashville Sounds is on April 9th, 2020.

Tampa Bay/Montreal deal stalled... what it could mean for MLB to Portland

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USATI

Tampa Bay/Montreal deal stalled... what it could mean for MLB to Portland

On Wednesday, it was revealed that negotiations stalled to split the Tampa Bay Rays home games between Tampa Bay and Montreal. Now, the organization has decided to honor their agreement with Tropicana Field and remain in Florida until 2027, announced in a letter from St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman addressed to City Council.

However, once the agreement ends the Rays will most likely be moving away from the area and playing in a different market. Evidenced by the organization declining Kriseman’s offer to extend their deal beyond 2027. Last season, despite making the postseason, the Tampa Bay Rays were second to last in Major League Baseball in average attendance.

This could be positive news for supporters of the Portland Diamond Project, an organization dedicated to bringing Major League Baseball to Portland. With the Rays’ decision, it appears a MLB franchise will be looking to relocate and Portland may be able to host the team. 

Back in November 2018, the Diamond Project announced an agreement with the Port of Portland to develop Terminal 2 property as an eventual site for the stadium. 

Investors for the property include Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Nike, and more. Also, the petition to bring Major League Baseball to Portland has reached over 44,000 signatures.

Wouldn't it be cool to see something like this happening in Portland? 


One can only hope. 

PDP issues update on status of Terminal 2

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Portland Diamond Project

PDP issues update on status of Terminal 2

The Portland Diamond Project (PDP) continues to work with the Port of Portland in hopes of securing a site for a future baseball stadium. Today, the PDP released some updated info as they continue to research the site and its baseball future. Below is the official press release from the PDP:

PDP Statement on T2 Extension:

Portland Diamond Project continues to evaluate Terminal 2 as the preferred site for a ballpark and mixed-use development. We have come to an agreement with the Port of Portland for up to six months of extensions to continue the due diligence period.

Port of Portland Statement:

The Portland Diamond Project asked for more time for due diligence at Terminal 2 and we feel comfortable extending the timeline.

Will Portland Diamond Project be paying the Port of Portland for the extensions?

Yes. PDP will pay the Port $37,500 for each month of additional due diligence.

When are the payments due?

PDP will pay the first Monthly Extension Fee in the amount of $37,500 on or before June 1, 2019 and will also pay five successive payments of the Monthly Extension Fee in the amount of $37,500 each, on or before the 1st day of July, August, September, October and November of 2019.

What happens when the six months are up?

At that point, we’ll enter next phase of cementing our partnership with the Port to develop this property.

Is PDP considering other sites?

We love the opportunity that Terminal 2 presents for a ballpark on the waterfront and a new neighborhood that extends the central city. We have an agreement to continue evaluating Terminal 2 and that’s where our energy is focused.

So, you’re considering other sites?

We’re focused on Terminal 2, but we’ll be pursuing all options that make sense until shovels are in the ground.

Portland Diamond Project reveals new renderings of proposed ballpark

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Portland Diamond Project

Portland Diamond Project reveals new renderings of proposed ballpark

It’s been two years since the Portland Diamond Project came to fruition, so happy PDP Day!

In celebration of the project’s anniversary to bring a major league baseball team to Portland, the Portland Diamond Project released new stadium renderings of the Rose City's future ballpark. 

The MLB to PDX stadium features a retractable roof, gondola suite, and centerfield and home-plate plazas, among other features. The capacity of the ballpark is expected seat between 32,000 and 34,000 fans.  

Take a look:


In November, the project signed an agreement in principle to develop the Port of Portland’s 45 acre Terminal 2 Property as the future home for Portland baseball.

So far, the project has gained lots of traction from the Portland community. A petition to show MLB officials the need for a fanbase has gained over 30,000 signatures.

Celebrate PDP Day and the project's goal to bring Major League Baseball to Portland on Wednesday at the Portland Diamond Project store across the street from Providence Park.

Portland Diamond Project Q&A: What's new with MLB to PDX

Portland Diamond Project Q&A: What's new with MLB to PDX

Craig Cheek, President and Managing Director of the Portland Diamond Project, took over the PDXDiamondProj's social media account on Monday to talk MLB to PDX. 

Here’s a wrap-up of what Cheek, a former vice president at Nike who oversaw training, baseball and football operations, had to share from today’s Twitter Q&A.

On when the project will break ground: 

On when the Portland Diamond Project hopes the first home opener will take place:

On how likely MLB to PDX will happen on a scale of 1-100:

On potential transportation options to the ballpark:

On whether fans will be able to use boat transportation to access the ballpark:

On whether the stadium will be a hitters or pitchers park:

On potential sites for MLB spring training: 

On how Mariners fans will be accomodated in Portland:

On obstacles left to face: 

To stay tuned to all of the latest updates, head on over to @PDXDiamondProj on Twitter.

The MLB expansion could bring the Seattle vs. Portland I-5 rivalry to new heights

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portland diamond project

The MLB expansion could bring the Seattle vs. Portland I-5 rivalry to new heights

If you have ever been to a San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game, you may have noticed the intense rivalry feeling with the “beat L.A.” chants ringing in your ears.

Now imagine a similar feeling when attending the future I-5 rivalry between the Seattle Mariners and Portland…

The time can’t come soon enough. But let’s take a look at how the proposed MLB expansion from 30 to 32 teams will actually effect the league. 

According to Axios writer Kendall Baker, who was reminded from an article published one year ago, that an expansion would most likely bring new structure to the league, and more specifically dividing the 32 teams up into four divisions rather than just the American and National league.

"One proposal would be to geographically restructure into four divisions, which would create a major reduction in travel ... and add to the natural rivalries by not just having them as inter-league attractions, but rather a part of the regular divisional battles." (It would also likely mean every team would use a DH.)

Assuming that Portland and Montreal (the other location rumored to be a part of the MLB expansion) are in, let’s see the teams that would be listed in each division: East, North, Midwest, and West:

East: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals.

North: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Montreal (Expos?), New York Yankees, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays.

Midwest: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royal, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers.

West: Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Portland, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners.

So rather than the six divisions (AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL East, NL Central, and NL West), the league would have just four, limited long travel, and the space for rivalries to grow.   

 

Portland Diamond Project Q&A: The latest MLB to PDX news

Portland Diamond Project Q&A: The latest MLB to PDX news

Eight-year major leaguer Darwin Barney took over the Portland Diamond Project social media account this week to catch baseball fans up to speed with the latest on MLB to PDX.

Here’s a wrap-up of what Barney, who is an investor and advisor for the project, had to share from today’s Twitter Q&A.

On whether Portland would get an AL team, meaning a Portland-Seattle rivalry:

On which team would be most likely to relocate to Portland: 

On whether Barney could play for Portland's new team:

On whether MLB to PDX is for real: 

On who would likely be memorialized for the first bobble-head giveaway:

On what kind of beer will be served at the park: 

On what's next for the project: 

To stay tuned to all of the latest updates, head on over to @PDXDiamondProj on Twitter. 

Portland Diamond Project picks Terminal 2 site for future MLB Ballpark

Portland Diamond Project picks Terminal 2 site for future MLB Ballpark

The Portland Diamond Project Thursday made it official, its preferred site for a proposed baseball stadium in Portland is the Port of Portland’s Terminal 2.

The terminal is located on the Willamette River, north of the Pearl District. The media release from PDP:

PORTLAND DIAMOND PROJECT ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE WITH PORT OF PORTLAND TO DEVELOP TERMINAL 2 PROPERTY Portland, OR – November 29, 2018 – Portland Diamond Project (PDP), the organization behind the effort to bring Major League Baseball to Portland, today announced it has signed an agreement in principle with the Port of Portland to develop the Port’s 45-acre Terminal 2 property, according to PDP Founder and President Craig Cheek. “We believe this has the potential to be a transformative landmark project for this city,” Cheek said. “Building an iconic, state-of-the-art ballpark along the Willamette River will catalyze economic development and capture great views of both the urban scale of the city and regional character of the Pacific Northwest.” This letter of intent with the Port kicks off a collaborative process with the City of Portland, and local communities, to create a Major League Baseball ballpark and community destination.

“We're committed to building a sustainable, equitable, and accessible ballpark that reflects what makes Portland such a special place to live,” Cheek said. “That means outstanding locally sourced food and beverage amenities, environmentally sustainable construction and operations, opportunities for makers and small businesses, and an atmosphere that celebrates diversity and inclusion and is welcoming to all Portlanders.”  

Terminal 2, which for decades handled commodities such as steel rail, bulk ores, and other oversized international cargo, offers approximately 45 acres of riverfront property with more than 2,000 linear feet of waterfront. The site is located on N.W. Front Ave., just north of the Pearl District and rapidly evolving Slabtown.  

“For the past year, we’ve been highly focused on securing the best possible property for development of a ballpark and have deeply analyzed multiple sites,” Cheek said. “Although additional options continue to present themselves, we are excited to announce that Terminal 2 is our preferred location and want to thank the Port of Portland for being such a great partner in this vision.”

For more information visit http://portlanddiamondproject.com .