Today's news that the National Hockey League Atlanta Thrashers are being sold and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, brings a reason why pro sports is, well rather in sad shape.
The NHL thought gee, Atlanta essentially did not know that they had a hockey team from 1972 to 1980. Yeah, that is where the Calgary Flames were born. They were once the Atlanta Flames. So, lets have a do over with a new team in a brand new arena.
And the Thrashers were born.
And now, it appears about 20 years later, the NHL has come to realize, maybe Atlanta just does not care about hockey. How else does one explain this turn of events?
What is more perplexing is that they would let the team be sold and move to another market that could not support a team.
That would be Winnipeg.
Now I have nothing against Winnipeg. It is just that if at once you do not succeed, is it worth it to try again?
Well, let me change sports and ask the good folks of our nation's capital, Washington, D. C. How is the third time around for baseball going?
Yeah, Washington was once the home of the current Minnesota Twins. They left the nation's capital in 1961. But somehow, the wizards of major league baseball thought, gee, why not try it again in Washington. Thus, the second incarnation of the Washington Senators was born. And what do you know? They could not hang in D. C. either. They went to Arlington, Texas and became the Texas Rangers.
Yet the wizards of major league baseball essentially seized the Montreal Expos, drove it into the ground intentionally, sold it to another owner and they thought, this time baseball will soar in D. C.
So, to make sure it would work, one thing they did not do was try that Senators moniker again. They are now the awe inspiring Nationals. And they are not in the American league as the two previous stints. They are in the National league. Yet the old saying is the same.
Washington, first in war, first in peace, last in the American league. Now, just change that to the National league Eastern division.
Why does pro sports keep going to the well of losers? Why go back to Winnipeg? Why try again in Atlanta? Why keep beating the Washington dead horse?
Because they do not have a real vision.
There are so many other markets that could support a major league team. Yet the cartels that are the leagues do not seem to want to think out of the box.
Here are a few cities that make some sense to have major league teams.
Columbus, Ohio. Yeah, they have the Blue Jackets in the NHL. Support is very strong. Why didn't major league baseball think of this city?
How about Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha?! Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot? Why not? After all, they have hosted the College World Series forever. And Omaha completed a new, $125,000,000 stadium for the CWS for the next 25 years. So, why not give this town a chance?
Another out of the box thought is New Orleans.
It would be a real shot in the arm for a city that has seen its share of hard times. And it would be a great half-way point in baseball for Houston, Arlington and Atlanta. Just a thought.
See, as long as major league sports thinks that going back to cities that had their chance to support a team, they will be in sad shape.
Winnipeg had their chance. They blew it. Atlanta had their chance not once, but twice. They blew it. Washington had their chance three times and could be close to blowing it once again.
Major league sports need a shot in the arm. Not in the pocketbook. But this myopic thinking is the potential doom.