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Examining Portland As A Possible City For MLB Expansion

Portland_PGEPark_RonnieAllen.jpg
Portland's PGE Park (Photo by Ronnie Allen)

This is part of a larger feature on possible MLB expansion. To see the full series, click here.

Portland has been part of the MLB expansion/relocation discussion since the early 2000s. This time around they have something they didn’t have before: financial commitments through the Portland Diamond Project spearheaded by former Nike executive Craig Cheek. As of now, Portland is the furthest along of the West Coast markets.

Population (CSA): 3,201,058 (rank: 18)

DMA: 1,180,980 (rank: 22)

Major Pro Teams: Blazers (NBA), Timbers (MLS)

Clubs That Claim Broadcast Market: Mariners, A’s, Giants

Four Businesses of Interest: Nike World Headquarters, adidas North America, Under Armour regional office, Precision Castparts

Organized effort: Portland Diamond Project

Pluses: $1.3 billion in financial commitments that have been shown to politicians in Portland, as well as MLB; agreement in principle on over 40 acres of property along Portland’s Willamette River, with plans to do a much larger development.

Minuses: Time. Cheek and Co. have concerns being able to hold the investors together for more than five years, a real concern if the A’s and Rays take longer than expected to complete their ballparks.

Open Questions: Can the Mariners, and to a lesser extent A’s and Giants, who have broadcast territory to the south, potentially build consensus to block a Portland deal from happening? While $1.3 billion in commitments is nothing to sneeze at, can they continue to pull additional investors in to bridge a potential $700 million gap to fund the ballpark and cover expansion fees?

Earl Cunningham Larrygorenfourseam

Where Are They Now?: Earl Cunningham

The Cubs drafted powerful South Carolina high school outfielder Earl Cunningham eighth overall in 1989, but he was stymied by strikeouts and never advanced past high Class A.

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