Officials from U.S. baseball have been visiting Vancouver recently. As a result, the idea of Major League Baseball in Vancouver is generating some serious buzz online. B.C. baseball fans are already fantasizing about having a team to rival Toronto’s Blue Jays or even world-famous U.S. names like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
The Athletic reported that an MLB franchise has been on two fact-finding visits to Vancouver in the last two years.
Bart Given, the managing director of marketing agency Torque Strategies, who reportedly played a part in the visits to Vancouver, told the Athletic that Vancouver is “ready for Major League Baseball.”
Nothing is certain. But on Twitter, fans are already suggested names for a new team, including the “Vancouver Dolphins” and the “Vancouver Ayy’s.”
Others are speculating about which existing U.S. teams could move to the city.
The idea of Vancouver having a new MLB team may actually be a realistic one. In 2018, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred identified the Canadian city as one of several potential areas to which the league could expand.
Speaking on First Things First about the prospect of MLB expanding to have 32 teams (it currently has 30), Manfred listed several cities that are “not only interested in having baseball but are viable” options.
"We think there are places in Mexico we could go for the long haul." MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on the league's… https://t.co/VMfGaLlsMq— First Things First (@First Things First)1531839360.0
He named Vancouver alongside Montreal in Canada, as well as Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte and Nashville in the US.
@Ken_Rosenthal @SeanFitz_Gerald Interesting, Vancouver would be a good market. There's a pretty strong baseball com… https://t.co/N6rXC3TRjT— Chris F. 🌎 citizen 🇨🇦 🇺🇸 focused (@Chris F. 🌎 citizen 🇨🇦 🇺🇸 focused)1582730432.0
@Ken_Rosenthal @SeanFitz_Gerald Vancouver Dolphins— C’sKev☘️ (@C’sKev☘️)1582730422.0
Not all Vancouverites are thrilled about the idea, suggesting the city should be focusing on affordable housing rather than attracting a new sports team.
Dear Vancouver: do NOT let MLB shake you down for a new baseball stadium. Use the money to build affordable housing… https://t.co/wDdY3eLEDX— Max Fawcett (@Max Fawcett)1582732268.0
@maxfawcett https://t.co/K4bhVYQtZQ— Mark Carney Stan Club (@Mark Carney Stan Club)1582734096.0
@maxfawcett Huge doubt about whether #Vancouver could even attract 15-20k for an 81 game home schedule And that is… https://t.co/F8ag0T4Wzq— JR (@JR)1582733207.0
According to the Athletic, one MLB team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, visited Vancouver in 2018 after B.C. Place Stadium was identified as a potential temporary home amid concerns about the state of Chase Field in Phoenix.
It was reported that representatives of the team visited Vancouver again last summer to attend a Mumford & Sons concert at B.C. Place.
But Joe Garagiola Jr., a special advisor to the Diamondbacks’ chief executive, played down the significance of this trip to the Athletic.
The Diamondbacks are still the subject of relocation speculation, but chief executive Derrick Hall told Forbes this month that the team would do “everything we can” to remain at Chase Field.
Canada already has an MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Vancouver itself also has the Vancouver Canadians, a minor league team.