North Carolina Sports: An Open Letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred
This is an open letter to Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, in regards to a potential expansion team coming to North Carolina.
I write this on behalf of baseball fans across the great state of North Carolina. I, as well as many followers of America’s pastime, am enamored with the sport, but it can be hard to continue to follow the top league’s teams without a local team.
There are strong teams that are in a fairly large radius from the state, such as the Atlanta Braves, my favorite team, and the Washington Nationals, who I have a large stake in now since one of their players, Trea Turner, formerly played for my university, NC State. However, the attachment to these teams is lessened by the fact that they are outside of most people’s immediate bubble.
Despite that, baseball continues to thrive in the Tar Heel State. North Carolina has minor league teams at all levels except AA from the Rookie-level Burlington Royals in the Appalachian League to the AAA-level Durham Bulls and Charlotte Knights in the International League. Attendance at these sites, especially for the Bulls and Knights, consistently reach top-percentage marks as the fans love the environments and the sport.
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Even at the college level, baseball in North Carolina has shown to be intriguing. NC State, Wake Forest, Duke, East Carolina, and UNC-Wilmington all earned bids into the 2016 NCAA Baseball Tournament. In addition, the Wolfpack also reached the College World Series in 2013 along with UNC-Chapel Hill. The state currently has three teams ranked in D1Baseball.com’s preseason top 25 (NC State, UNC, and UNCW) with many others looking to prove their worth for the upcoming season.
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The state has already shown it can host top-notch professional teams. The Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets occupy downtown Charlotte, and denizens of the Queen City continue to pour into Bank of America Stadium and the Spectrum Center to watch players like Cam Newton and Kemba Walker entertain and compete for them. Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes bring in tons of hockey fans to PNC Arena in Raleigh for high-capacity games even when the team hasn’t been playing at a high level.
I know your top candidates for expansion are currently Montreal and Mexico City. I’m sure both of those cities seem suitable for MLB teams. It worked out well for Montreal, didn’t it? However, I’m more than certain the state of North Carolina would be an excellent home for a new professional baseball team whether it resides in the Queen City of Charlotte, the Triad of Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point; or in the Triangle near Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
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So I ask you, Commissioner, to examine our state closely. We, the thousands of baseball fans residing in North Carolina, will continue to show the sport the love and attention it deserves. In the meantime, I hope that this will illuminate our proud state and put us on your radar for when expansion becomes an immediate priority.
Best regards always,
For those reading who want to spread the word, post this on social media with the hashtag: #MLBtoNC.