It’s a daily occurrence now of a new city being announced to become the next to hold a MLB team. Either through expansion or one of a few teams willing to relocate will the eventually come to fruition. The Oakland A’s are one team who are currently in the process of moving to Las Vegas. The other is the Tampa Bay Rays, who should move to Orlando, becoming the Dreamers.
Location and stadium are better than anything Tampa currently offers
Let’s face it, the name Dreamers is awful, even if it does have connotations to Walt Disney and his theme parks. So, the name is not ideal. The location and the facilities that co-founder Pat Williams is willing to put forth for an eventual team is.
Look at any list of top-ranking MLB stadiums and you’ll see the Rays Tropicana Field is somewhere usually in the bottom two. The gloomy stadium built in 1990 is the farthest from aesthetically pleasing and plays nothing into its team or character of the city.
Just looking at the renderings of what Williams has planned for a hopeful stadium in Orlando, the Rays would be ludicrous not to jump at the first chance they could get to move an hour and half northeast into the theme park, tourist capital of the world. The only holdback currently is the lease they have with the city of Tampa, which will be up in 2027.
The “Orlando Dreamers” released renderings of their proposed $1.7 billion MLB ballpark in Orlando
: @OrlandoDreamers https://t.co/hfhB0Ks6hj pic.twitter.com/IeseWmJTLQ
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 9, 2023
Orlando would attract more fans
Orlando is a tourist haven. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, they are known to bring in about 60 million tourists every year. There’s nothing short of attractions in the city that accounts for everything from roller coasters to water parks. Really, the only thing missing is sports, where the only major sports team is the NBA’s Orlando Magic. For city that especially full of tourists during the Summer, having a MLB makes a lot of sense.
You could say that the other tourist attractions would take away from team attendance, much like it has in Tampa currently or Miami with the Marlins. That’s not an invalid argument, but it’s one that may not be entirely accurate. MLB bring in a lot of fans, especially from baseball fans that are looking to take in a new stadium, like a lot are. Having a new state-of-the-art stadium with governing entertainment options next to it will give more options to what feels like an option full city.
Williams told Fox 35 Orlando that bringing a franchise to Orlando could potentially generate $40 billion in revenue for the Central Florida area over the next 30 years, which would include spring training games and other development around the site.
“If we do this, he [Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings] said, this ballpark has to be a tourist attraction unto itself,” Williams said. “He said people from around the world are going to have to put this on their ‘checklist.’”
Tampa has done nothing to keep the Rays
For years the Rays have been looking for help for a new, much needed stadium, or looking to get out of Tampa, yet neither has happened. The relationship between the Rays and owner Stuart Sternberg with the city has seemed to be diminished beyond repair. Just look at the lengths that Sternberg has went to over the years. Just as of last year he was attempting to have the team play in split locations, one in Tampa, the other in Montreal.
It’s time for the Tampa Bay Rays to move out and move on and become the Orlando Dreamers. Even if they have to wait until 2027 when their lease is up with the city of Tampa, they can at least dream.
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