As Adam McCalvy noted yesterday, there is chatter in Orlando about
laying another tourist trap luring a Major League team there, and while the wealthy real estate developer trying to make it happen hasn't mentioned the Brewers by name, a local TV reporter has.
Cue the unneccessary hand-wringing from those old enough to remember the Braves leaving town out of the blue. Thankfully, the club quickly stepped in and put an end to the crazy talk. Vice President of Communications Tyler Barnes practically read my mind when he said this to McCalvy:
"The reporter or whoever else is putting that out there should do his homework," Barnes said. "It's irresponsible. We just finished ninth in attendance, we have one of the best ballparks in baseball and an owner who is totally committed to the [Milwaukee] area.
"That report is beyond hilarious. I needed a good laugh today, and I got it."
My question? Why the hell would anyone think the Brewers would be a logical candidate to move anywhere? Miller Park is still lesss than 10 years old, and as McCalvy noted, the Brewers are locked into a lease there until 2030. The team is coming off its second straight year of 3 million fans in attendance. Fan interest across the state is probably the highest it's been since the early 1980s.
Anyone paying attention to Major League Baseball -- and we know that Floridians typically stink at paying attention to Major League Baseball, judging by the Rays' and Marlins' attendance numbers -- would know that the Brewers are probably one of the least likely teams to move. Fans in Florida don't have any interest in watching consistently competitive teams in Tampa and Miami...what makes anyone think that a new team with players largely unknown to the locals in smaller markets than the Rays and Marlins would do well?
Here's an idea, Florida: make the teams you have already work before you try to steal some other team. The Marlins have at least finalized plans for a new stadium and will finally move closer to downtown Miami, which should help attendance. The Rays? They can't get their stadium project passed. Despite having a group of young talent that has everyone else in the league jealous, they finished 11th out of 14 in American League attendance last season. They can't get anyone to that ballpark unless they're playing the Yankees or Red Sox. True, the Rays consistently pull in some of the best local television ratings in baseball, but no one actually shows up to watch the games in person.
If any fanbase should be worried about losing their team, it should be the Rays. Naming the Brewers just shows laziness and irresponsibility on the reporter's part.