|Is Puerto Rico Ready To Support A Big League Baseball Team?
The usual October buzz in Puerto Rico about who will make it to the World Series is this year replaced by the question, "Will a major league team based in Puerto Rico ever represent the island in a future World Series?" Interesting details surrounding this question are to be found in Gabrielle Paeses column in last weeks Herald entitled, "Major League Baseball in Puerto Rico?" Now dangled before the imagination of the Puerto Rican public is the prospect of the Montréal Expos, or perhaps another failing team, one day wearing caps with "SJ" embroidered on them and playing before 20,000 screaming Sanjuaneros in Hiram Birthorn Stadium.
Expos officials say that they are still considering Puerto Rico as a permanent venue for major league baseball and might test the warmth of Caribbean waters by scheduling several series of games in San Juan next season. Other "host cities" are also under consideration, including those that are actively seeking to bring the team to their stadiums permanently: Washington; New Orleans; Norfolk, Virginia; and Portland, Oregon.
In the euphoria of big league prospects for Puerto Rico, is anyone calmly analyzing the downside of such an arrangement? What about the price of building a new stadium at the cost of mega millions of public funds? Is the islands economic base sufficiently high to support the $15.00 to $50.00 range of ticket prices typical of big league stadiums? And, even if Puerto Ricans can dig down deep enough to go to the games, will they support a loosing team, as will almost certainly be the case in the first several years? What will be the impact on the many excellent minor league teams that depend on local support?
So, this weeks Hot Button Issue Pool goes to the question of the readiness of Puerto Rico to support a major league baseball team. Please choose among the options listed above.