Russell Wilson’s Love Affair with Baseball

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by: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson and his pop-star wife Ciara announced they have joined the Diamond Project initiative.

The Diamond Project is aiming to bring Major League Baseball to the city of Portland, Oregon. The city currently hosts the Sea Dogs, Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Of course, relocating the franchise closer to the east coast based organization would make sense, especially if it is to accommodate an MLB franchise.

With adding the Wilson’s, who are officially part owners, the Diamond Project appears to have put itself in a serious position to make big league baseball in Portland a reality.

According to Wilson, “Portland is a place sports fanatics get excited about, headquarters to Nike – a brand repped by all kinds of athletes – and a city where a new a new stadium is about to stand tall. Ciara and I are both honored to be part of this effort. As owners, investors, and partners in this incredible opportunity, we plan to change the game of baseball and impact the lives of kids everywhere.”

There are a few important factors at play with this announcement.

Russell Wilson’s “Baseball Career”

Wilson played college baseball at North Carolina State before transferring to Wisconsin to further his football career. He was drafted in 2010 by the Colorado Rockies. Wilson plays second base and has 93 minor league games under his belt, but clearly, he excels on the football field – winning a Super Bowl in Seattle.

Currently, his baseball rights belong to the New York Yankees.

If MLB ownership does indeed happen, then we would see Wilson officially “retire” from baseball. From his comments, it seems like this would be a decision he would be okay with.

Expansion or Relocation

To add a Portland franchise one of two things would need to happen. Either a team would need to relocate from its current city, or the league would need to expand.

There are a few teams that relocating could make sense for. The obvious choices would be the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics who have long been rumored to move anyway.

Option two would be that MLB would follow-through with long-rumored expansion. The league currently sits at 30 teams. To add a new franchise in Portland a second team would need to be established at the same time. (For thoughts on potential cities that could host a new baseball franchise, be sure to watch for Andrew’s article that will follow tomorrow.)

Adding two new teams impacts multiple facets of the league.

One, it would make for 32 teams (matching the NFL’s total) meaning that the American and National Leagues would split into four divisions each from the current three-division format. Instead of five teams per division, each would be made up of four teams.

Two, the playoffs would be affected. Instead of three division winners getting automatic bids and two teams competing in a Wild Card game for the final spot, you would have four division winners. In theory, this would eliminate the Wild Card altogether. Although with the success and intrigue of the Wild Card game I am sure that MLB would find a way to incorporate it into a new format.

Growth is always a good thing and it could be very good for MLB. 

One goal of MLB is to expand its audience. By adding new markets you will naturally achieve that goal. As long as the quality of your product does not decrease for the sake of quantity then the league should be fine.

What are your thoughts on what Russell Wilson and Ciara are attempting to do within baseball? Is this the type of thing the league has needed to increase interest? Do you see any negatives with the Portland Diamond Project? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. I think Wilson's work with the MLB is cool, but I definitely don't want to see the league expand at this time. There are other issues I would like to see the league deal with before they actually expand.