Oakland Athletics move good news for MLB to PDX push, says project president

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 6:08 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The path to add two new teams to the MLB could is one small step closer to reality.

“A lot of people have been asking in the last few hours, is this like a gut punch or does this help? Reality is, we believe it helps!” President of the Portland Diamond Project, Craig Cheek, said.

There was talk that the Oakland Athletics could have relocated to the Rose City, but Thursday, the news came out that they signed on to build a new stadium in Las Vegas.

Like Cheek said, this isn’t bad news for people hoping to get an MLB team in Portland.

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“Commissioner Manferd has been pretty consistent that once we get the Oakland and Tampa situation stabilized, we can in earnest move towards talking about expansion and we’ve all along thought we were the perfect West-coast fit for expansion,” he said.

Cheek believes expansion will be a top priority once this season wraps up, which means they’ll be solidifying logistics like a location for a baseball stadium by the end of the year.

In the past, they’ve considered sites like the Portland Public Schools Headquarters in North Portland and Terminal Two at the Port of Portland.

“I think we’re perfectly positioned. We’re actively working on real estate right now. I can’t give you an announcement, but we hope that that’s the next significant press release coming from our area that we’ve figured out the best ballpark district in the Portland metro area,” he said.

There are a few eastern cities in the running, like Nashville and Charlotte but Cheek doesn’t seem them as competition.

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“We have to root for the other side of the country to get their effort going at the same time because the league has said when they go they have to go two at a time and they need to go one on the east, one on the west. So we’re rooting for Nashville, we’re rooting for Montreal, we’re rooting for Charlotte, wherever that next city is going to be out east or South,” Cheek said.

Salt Lake City is the closest rival looking to get a team, but Cheek believes Portland has more to offer.

“I affectionately call it Sportland, not Portland. I think we have such a rich DNA when you look at the Blazers and the Timbers and the Thorns,” he said. “You have all those athletic apparel brands here, so, I really think Portland sets itself up as a unique proposition.”