San Antonio, Portland show little interest in taking on MLB franchise
By Zachary S. Fagenson
Marlins President David Samson's threat to reopen talks with other cities for the franchise to call home could find itself falling on deaf ears.
Before beginning work to structure a deal for a new stadium here, the franchise looked at several locations around the country, including Portland, OR, and San Antonio, TX.
While the team could continue talks with those cities if the proposed Miami contract's terms were to be reopened, some of the out-of-towners say the climate just isn't right.
Michael Sculley, director of the community-venues program for San Antonio's Bexar County, said that community isn't interested in being used as a bargaining chip.
"We're the seventh-largest city in the country," he said. "San Antonio, in my perspective, has always been used as the leverage for teams to getting a better deal in their own town."
According to a recent report by the Nielsen Co., San Antonio ranked as the 37th largest television market in the country with 818,560 television homes.
That ranking, Mr. Sculley said, was a deterring factor for the Marlins when they approached the city a few years ago.
"We've moved on," he said. "We're proceeding with a performing arts center and youth facilities."
While Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff — the equivalent of a mayor — said he'd be "glad to talk about" a baseball team, a representative of the Marlins could not be reached to confirm whether any talks are underway.
Like San Antonio, Portland was a city the Marlins considered for relocation.
Even though it falls five spots behind the 16th-ranked Miami-Fort Lauderdale media market at No. 21 with 1,175,100 television homes, a local newspaper editor who asked to remain anonymous was doubtful that Portland would entertain the idea of a professional baseball team.
"The No. 1 active thing is an effort to get Major League Soccer," he said. "Part of that would be building a new minor league park, and even that's going to be a tough political slog."
Meanwhile, the Portland Business Journal reported that city is falling nearly $40 million short in its efforts to land a professional soccer team.
And like many states around the nation, both Texas and Oregon are reporting budget shortfalls.
Oregon faces a $2 billion gap in its next two-year budget, while Texas is reeling from the $1.7 billion in hurricane damages, most caused by Hurricane Ike.