Let MLB expand to DFW, why not?

(This is my post from WFAA.com on July 15, 2015.)

Prior to the Major League Baseball All-Star break, I was immersed in the fun of another Crosstown Classic. I was at Wrigley Field and watched the second game of a series between the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs. With a game like this, many thoughts rushed to mind including, “Why doesn’t Dallas have a Major League Baseball team?”

No, I don’t mean the Texas Rangers should leave Arlington for Dallas. I mean maybe the Tampa Bay Rays or the Oakland Athletics should move here, or MLB should expand to Dallas. Crazy thought? Maybe.

Let’s focus on the White Sox and Cubs for a moment. Sure, they have occupied the Southside and Northside, respectively, of Chicago for a century, but each has endured their ups and downs in popularity. On Chicago sportstalk radio the day before that game I attended, the show hosts talked about whether this Crosstown Classic appealed to the masses anymore or has it lost some luster.

Inside the ballpark that Saturday, Cubby blue dominated the seats, but there was a solid contingent of Sox fans who made the trip to 1060 West Addison. While the Sox play in a modernized home at 35th and Bill Veeck Drive, the Cubs are playing in one of baseball’s oldest parks, but it’s being renovated with new amenities.

Both teams had a competitive off-season with high expectations to follow. While Chris Sale and Jon Lester dueled that Saturday afternoon in weather that felt more like a late September pennant race than a mid-July game, 41,000+ fans had a good beer and baseball buzz. Outside the ballpark, well, Wrigley Field is nestled into its own neighborhood that has baseball fans pouring out the ballpark into bars and restaurants or neighborhood streets to find their cars or just to simply walk home.

I know what you are thinking. Chicago is different. They have generations of fans. True. After all, I was there with my parents and one of my children. You probably have also heard about the rivalry that exists. White Sox fans never root for the Cubs while Cubs fans I know were pulling for the Sox to beat the Houston Astros in 2005. Sox fans are extremely grateful their team won a World Series before the Cubs—in our lifetime. Yeah, one World Series win for a city in the last century.

So, why not add a second team to the Dallas / Fort Worth market? Like Chicago, DFW is a top five media market. Nielson ranks Chicago as having nearly 3.5-million TV homes while DFW has more than 2.6-million and growing. These are the 3rd and 5th media markets, respectively. Behind DFW is San Francisco/Oakland (6th) who has the San Francisco Giants and the aforementioned A’s.

The Chicago ballparks are approximately 10 miles apart. From Globe Life Park to a ballpark built somewhere in downtown Dallas, south of downtown or maybe even built to replace the Cotton Bowl—the driving distance would be approximately 20 miles apart. Think about the economic growth of the DFW area including the seemingly countless number of businesses that continue to move to North Texas. That means more butts to fill the seats, and more corporate clients for advertising, yearly suite leases and huge group outings.

So far, would you agree it sounds feasible? Commissioner Rob Manfred recently indicated that he’s open to MLB expansion. In an ESPN.com feature, San Antonio was mentioned in that story as a possible new location for a team. If the Rangers find it OK that a team moves to San Antonio, would they be amicable to a new team, presumably a National League team, being just 20 or so miles away?

The Cubs and Sox are rarely home on the same day. At the break, the Cubs rank 7th in attendance at 34,785 per game while the White Sox are 27th at 21,936. The Rangers are 12th at 31,703. Don’t forget, the Rangers have the security blanket of a multi-billion dollar TV deal over the next two decades.

Who would own this new team? Maybe Mark Cuban would be interested. Before the Ricketts family, many in Chicago were hopeful that Cuban would have purchased the Cubs. If not Cuban for the Dallas team, I bet there would be plenty of Texas business people who have the funds to own and profit from a team as well as build a retractable roof stadium with mostly or all private funds—a ballpark that could also house countless other economically friendly events.

One could go on forever defining the details of adding a second team to the DFW area. How about it? The Rangers don’t have much of a rivalry with the Astros, but a Dallas team would present an interesting scenario.

What do you think?

Follow Bryan on Twitter @BryanDolgin

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