On the latest episode of the podcast that I do with a couple of my good friends, we got to talking about the Charlotte Bobcats, which has bled into what I wanted to discuss in the week’s column.
Relocation has seemingly been a big topic of discussion across the Big Four sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL).
In the MLB, you’ve got the league talking about potential expansion, but the league is wanting to wait for the outcomes of both the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays stadium fiascos solved.
These two teams have my least favorite stadiums in the league, and I would venture to guess that these two stadiums fall near the bottom of a lot of people’s MLB stadium rankings.
The A’s have seemingly been in a battle with the city of Oakland for quite some time in regards to a new stadium.
The A’s currently play in the RingCentral Coliseum (most people probably remember it as the Oakland Coliseum) and are the sole users of the multipurpose stadium that also housed the Raiders until they moved to Las Vegas.
A potential plan for a stadium looks beautiful, but there are hang ups before anything can be done, and the league has threatened for the A’s to move to another city.
The Rays, meanwhile, were discussing a plan which would split home games between Tampa and Montreal, Canada, in the near future.
It’s been long discussed that the location of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg is tough to get to, tarps cover numerous seating, the catwalks in the upper levels of the field are supposedly in play.
It’s seemingly a mess for the Rays.
Both these reasons combine for why baseball hasn’t followed the NHL or NFL in expanding into 32 teams.
Talks of bringing back the Montreal Expos have happened, as has the potential location of Portland and Nashville as destinations for a new franchise.
Growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s has made me a bit nostalgic for a return of the Expos, which nostalgia plays a big role in another team I’d like to see come back in the NBA.
But, what led us to talking about the Bobcats is one of my friends that is on the podcast lived in Vancouver, Canada, for a time and he was asked if he was there when the NBA’s Grizzlies played there.
He said no, but said you could see the remnants of the team being there. Of course, the Grizzlies moved to Memphis, which is easily accessible to this area to go catch a game.
But, I asked about who the fans would root for in Vancouver after the Grizzlies left, which brought up the Seattle Supersonics and how that franchise eventually moved to another easily accessible Oklahoma City Thunder, which was largely a byproduct of the then New Orleans Hornets being forced to play home games in Oklahoma City because of Hurricane Katrina.
Thus, left us wishing for the Seattle Supersonics to return as well as talking about the Bobcats.
The original Charlotte Hornets left to go to New Orleans in 2002, which the NBA then promised a franchise in Charlotte would return.
Two years later, the Bobcats started as an expansion team – the NBA’s 30th team.
The Bobcats were an awful franchise, reaching the playoffs twice, while also posting the lowest win total in NBA history at seven wins during a lockout-shortened season.
The Bobcats lasted just 10 years, making the playoffs twice – both first round exits – and were continually a bottom feeding team.
In 2013, Michael Jordan, who became majority owner of the Bobcats in 2010, announced the organization had submitted an application to rebrand as the Charlotte Hornets, which of course, they did rebrand.
It’s odd to think the Bobcats indeed did exist because we’re almost as far removed from the Bobcats being a brand as it was an existing franchise for 10 years.
But, again, there is talk of possible expansion for the NBA.
I’ve read where it is reported that Seattle and Las Vegas would be the two likely destinations for a new franchise.
Recently, LeBron James was advocating for a team in Las Vegas.
As sports fans, I don’t think we can help feeling nostalgic for old teams/uniforms.
Some of my favorite NBA uniforms are the ones worn when I first got into basketball as a kid. The late 90s Detroit Pistons logo, the pinstripe Pacers unis, the mountain range Utah Jazz unis, the Ray Allen style Seattle Sonics unis.
When people talk about expansion or relocation in the NHL, the Quebec Nordiques are one of the first teams brought up when people want to revitalize a team. The same goes for the Expos in the MLB.
In a recent trip to the St. Louis area, I passed by the arena where the St. Louis Rams called home. The NFL will likely one day put a team in St. Louis.
Talks of expansion are fun as long as the expansion part doesn’t get too out of hand, like adding eight to 10 more teams to a league. I feel at that point, competition may be too watered down.
Ultimately, it’s about money, though.
Andy Robertson is the sports editor of the Log Cabin Democrat and can be reached at email@example.com.