The Oakland Athletics are moving to Las Vegas. The Tampa Bay Rays might move to Orlando or Montreal. The MLB is on a warpath of relocation rumors that would make the Arizona Coyotes blush. Now, up north in Wisconsin, there is another threat going on as the Milwaukee Brewers either need to improve their current ballpark or they will be relocated. The MLB Milwaukee controversy appears to be in full swing.
Despite the number of issues other franchises have in staying in their respective market, Rob Manfred took his attention to the biggest city in the cheese state and threatened them with relocation if they didn’t cough off the money to repair their stadium.
Milwaukee is in Need of a Repair
As the heart of the MLB Milwaukee controversy, American Family Field has seen better days. There are cracks in the concrete, rust on some of the chairs, and drainage issues that can make the stadium flood. Despite only being opened in 2001, the stadium is already worse than other MLB parks that are much older than it. The cost of these repairs was not going to be cheap and they estimated around $428 million to cover the repair.
The field was originally voted on by Milwaukee County and was covered by their tax dollars. With the repair needed the county would vote again for the added repairs. Manfred even went on a campaign in the city and called the franchise a “gem.”
But the voters were not on Manfred’s side and voted against using the county’s money to fund the repair. Now that public money is off the table Manfred has now threatened to relocate the franchise somewhere else. Nowhere specific was in mind at the time but as the Brewer situation unfolds there will be more threats and specific timetables if there isn’t a plan.
MLB Milwaukee Controversy: A Common Tactic
This isn’t anything new for sports leagues. A city has some stadium or arena problem and the league threatens them with losing their team. A few years ago, the Rays threatened to split half of their games up with Montreal. How feasible that plan was has yet to be known but because the Rays ballpark is not in a great location near the city, they decided to threaten partial relocation to get more people to the ballpark.
How serious these threats to the Brewers are still not known. Publicly funding baseball stadiums have become less popular in a lot of cities and states in the United States and it would be unlikely that a private funder would help out.
If there was a city that the MLB uses the threaten the MLB Milwaukee controversy, it could be these potential names.. The two most likely would be either Indianapolis or Nashville. It’s unlikely the league would want to move to the opposite part of the county and they are cities that have a major league familiarity and may cough up money to upgrade their existing ballparks. However, this is just a guess and what the MLB’s tactics will be are currently unknown.
What will Happen Now?
The sad reality is that we are in a wait-and-see situation with the MLB Milwaukee controversy. What is expected is a lot of messy communication from the MLB and a lot of threats. It’s not a fun time for fans of teams that have to face this but unless they somehow try to switch up their tactics it will all be the same. They will try to strong-arm politicians and the fans will be swept up. It’s not fun and Brewers fans should be ready for the storm.
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