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Former major league pitcher Dave Stewart has spoken to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred about his bid to start an expansion franchise in Nashville, Tenn., that would be baseball’s first majority minority-owned team.
Though the league’s priority remains solving stadium issues for the Athletics and Rays, expansion could be on the table once those clubs find ballparks.
“I spoke to the commissioner a couple of weeks ago and the same thing still remains,” Stewart told ESPN. “There are two teams that don’t have homes: the Oakland A’s and the Tampa [Bay] Rays, so those are his priorities to make sure those places have homes to play in. But once they do, expansion becomes next on the agenda.”
Stewart told ESPN that his group expects to raise $2 billion to purchase an expansion team with the proposed name of the Nashville Stars, after the Negro Leagues team of the 1940s and 1950s. Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is also part of the group, and the Negro Leagues Museum is a partner.
“We started this process four years ago. Nashville is a fast-growing city, it has a beautiful population of people,” Stewart said. “There’s so much going on here. So, MLB put Nashville as one of its top places for expansion, and I think that triggered the idea to go down this path.”
As for the issues surrounding Oakland Coliseum and Tropicana Field, the Athletics have publicly flirted with a move to Las Vegas as potential plans for a new stadium in Oakland, Calif., have met political opposition. The Rays’ plan to split their season between the Tampa area and Montreal was rejected.
If neither team moves, Montreal and Las Vegas would be logical candidates for expansion.