We’ve heard stories of contraction in the MLB in the past, but could the league actually be closer to expansion in the near future? Whether it was over his 16 seasons as a starting pitcher or after he retired, working in front offices as an executive, coach, or agent former baseball great Dave Stewart has done just about everything in his professional career. Now Stewart could be looking to add MLB team owner to that long list of titles.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Howard Bryant of ESPN, Stewart has been added to the Music City Baseball group looking to place a professional team in Nashville. Stewart’s goal is to connect with people of color looking to invest.
“The time has come for Black ownership in Major League Baseball,” Stewart said.Dave Stewart to Bob Nightengale
Nashville Stars looking to make history
Stewart and the Music City Baseball Group believe MLB could be looking to expand sometime in the next three-to-five years. When it happens, they want to be fully prepared. Stewart also has prior experience, having pursued partial ownership in the Miami Marlins and Oakland Athletics in the past, the latter of whom he notes the MLB still wants to find a long-term stadium solution.
“I spoke to the commissioner a couple of weeks ago and the same thing still remains,” Stewart, who played parts of eight seasons in Oakland and helped the team win a World Series in 1989, told ESPN on Tuesday. “There are two teams that don’t have homes: the Oakland A’s and the Tampa 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.”Dave Stewart on potential MLB expansion
As far as investors go, the group already includes former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and they anticipate being able to raise $2 billion toward the expansion team purchase.
Should the Nashville baseball franchise get approved, they would make history as the first majority minority-owned team in the MLB’s existence. The official proposal is to name the expansion team the Nashville Stars. This is actually a tie-in to a Negro leagues team of the same name, which played in Nashville from the 1930s until 1951.
For Stewart, this dream has been a long-time coming, having been working toward a Nashville expansion team for several years now.
“We started this process four years ago,” Stewart said. “Nashville is a fast-growing city. It has a beautiful population of people. 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.”
The last time MLB saw an expansion came back in 1998 when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays were added to make a total 30 professional baseball teams. With Nashville already being home to the Tennessee Titans NFL team and the Nashville Predators NHL team, it seems only fitting that a professional baseball team would join the crew. Maybe that will be the Stars.