New push to bring Major League Baseball to Charlotte

New push to bring Major League Baseball to Charlotte

A Plaza-Midwood man, Rick Curti, has a name -- Charlotte Bats, a logo and even uniforms in mind.

He also has a website and a Facebook page that is gaining traction, with 15,000 likes and counting.

"It's, like, wow, I guess I'm not alone in this,” Curti said. “With how fast the city is growing and the jobs and people moving here, I thought this is like a no-brainer to have a Major League Baseball team."

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You may remember Charlotte lawyer Jerry Reese. He spent years filing seven lawsuits, saying Charlotte was a major league city.

He was using the argument to block the minor league Charlotte Knights from moving to uptown, but the team prevailed and, by all accounts, it's been very successful.

Charlotte's hosting the AAA All-Star game next week. The team led all of Minor League Baseball in attendance the last two seasons, and its average attendance, 9,000 plus per game, isn't far from some major league teams' attendance.

Plus, Charlotte saw a major reason for hope last summer, when baseball's commissioner, Rob Manfred, named the Queen City on his shortlist for a future expansion team.

Since then, national analysts have backed the idea. Sporting News listed Charlotte among "eight cities that make sense" for a franchise.

Steve Goldberg follows the business side of sports very closely and said Charlotte is a big league city and thinks it will get an MLB team "at some point, absolutely."

But, he also warns fans “the advantages of it, that come with the pride of being a major league city, Charlotte already has that, through the NFL and the NBA. It doesn't need another shiny button just to have one."

He said an MLB team may not be right for Charlotte.

"There's a lot of shakeout still going on in just sponsorship dollars in general and any team that comes will invariably have to compete against the Panthers and the Hornets for those marketing dollars," he said.

Charlotte is one of the biggest media markets in the country without a major league team.

But one thing in Charlotte's favor is, unlike larger markets like Orlando, Charlotte doesn't have another team nearby.

Curti said he reached out to the mayor and City Counci. He admits they're dealing with bigger issues right now, like House Bill 2, but he said he will be patient.