Then, there are the Blue Jays and the Expos, two large-market teams that rank 16th and 30th by revenue and both on the decline. The combined team should be moved to Ottawa and given a name that shows it is Canada's team. The Frostbacks? It may be an insult, but in Canada, so is Yankee. Combined market, including Ottawa: 4.7 million.
Contraction's opponents worry that baseball will eliminate teams that may become viable. Indeed, a decade ago, the Mariners, the Indians, and the Braves all struggled to make ends meet. All three are now healthy. Ten years from now, the same may be true of the White Sox and the Giants. But that won't be true of the Athletics, the Bay Area's No. 2 team. Merge them with the Giants immediately. The new team could be called the Gigantics. It would dominate a TV market of 2.4 million households.
That leaves just two franchises struggling in small markets, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Both dwell in the bottom half by revenue, but neither is in immediate danger of failing. And both are close to opening new stadiums. If they don't improve, merge them with the Phillies and the Indians.
Or, one of them could move to New York, a market of nearly 7 million—more than enough room for a third team. What do Pirates bring to mind if not Wall Street? And is there a better home for a team called the Reds than the Upper West Side?
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