We begin this Memorial Day edition of Odds & Ends with the likely announcement of Seattle getting an NHL expansion team. The city has a bid to be the NHL’s 32nd franchise and approval could come on June 20 when the NHL Board of Governors meets in Las Vegas.
Part of why Seattle’s bid to get that team is more of a reality is the success of the Vegas Golden Knights,who, in their inaugural year,have made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals,which begin today where they will host the Washington Capitals.
Interest from the public has been another key factor. Some 33,000 season ticket reservations have been netted and half of those are now on a waiting list. This was achieved on March 1.
“The response this morning was absolutely stunning,” Oak View Group (the group hoping to land the expansion team) CEO Tim Leiweke said at the time. “That’s the only word we could use to sell 25,000 season tickets and counting in a matter of hours shows what all of us knew – which is this is America’s great sports city.”
If approved for expansion,the team will begin play in 2020 and play in a renovated KeyArena, a $600 million project that was approved by the Seattle city council last winter. The expansion fee will be around $625 million. One issue that remains is the team name. The favorites at press time seem to be the Emeralds, the Totems,and the Rainers. My personal favorite is the Kraken,which has been proposed as well,but in my personal view, they should pluralize it.
This is welcome news for both Seattle and the NHL. The city has yet to fill the void of the SuperSonics leaving a decade ago,and while this doesn’t do it entirely,it’s a start and with so many people wanting season tickets to see this team,I think when they start playing in 2020 that they will be a success. The NHL did a great job with the Golden Knights and I can’t see them not doing well when Seattle joins the league. It’s going to be great!
Unfortunately for one city,expansion will have to wait yet again as the Sacramento Republic FC lost out to FC Cincinnati for a bid to be the MLS’ 26th team,an announcement that is expected tomorrow. That club,along with Nashville,will begin MLS play in 2020. The MLS does have plans to expand to 28 teams,but it is uncertain when that will happen.
The Republic commented on the news Thursday afternoon, saying its bid for an MLS team is “alive and well” and that “… the news today does not deter our efforts nor does it hurt our chances of reaching our goal.”
Team ownership has promised to build a privately-financed stadium if MLS selects it as an expansion team.
One of the main issues with Sacramento’s bid is the lack of investment,something the team says they are in the late stages of obtaining. Cincinnati’s major gap,stadium funding and an infrastructure plan,were approved by that city’s council for a stadium downtown.
It’s disappointing for sure with what happened to the Republic because of how much of a lock this seemed not that long ago and it continues to unravel as other cities seem to get bids with no problem. I want to believe that this city will get an MLS team, I think the support is there and that the city is perfect for it, but the longer it goes on and the more and more they get passed up,I get nervous that it won’t happen. This ownership group needs to get their act together to obtain what they already should’ve.
Madison Bumgarner is showing he’s on the mend and rumour has it he can be back in a Giants uniform this week and be pitching on Friday. The Giants’ ace made his first rehab start on Saturday night for the Sacramento River Cats and struck out eight hitters over 3 2/3 innings of work. He is slated to throw 70 pitches in his next rehab start (He threw 47 on Saturday).
Bumgarner is slated to be with the San Jose Giants against the Visalia Rawhide this Thursday,but with his successful outing in Sacramento,those plans could change and he could start at home on Friday against Philadelphia.
“We’re going to stay open-minded on anything right now,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “As good as he felt last night, it was his first time in a competitive situation so to speak.”
The team did indicate that Bumgarner might need three or four rehab starts before returning to the big club, but with how well he did Saturday,that might change a bit.
“With how well he felt, how well he threw, 47 pitches, a possibility it could be moved up,” Bochy said. “We’ll talk to him here in a couple of days when he takes his bullpen.”
Usually with most pitchers I think it’s best they take as much time as possible to get back,but Bumgarner is not like most pitchers. This man is very competitive and wants to get back to business and help his team win games in a division where they’re very much alive and to a rotation that’s been shaky as of late. I think getting him 70 pitches against a Phillies team that beat the shit out of them earlier this month could very well be what they need to get right so-to speak.
One thing I absolutely do not want to see happen is the Giants releasing Hunter Pence once he returns from rehab,something that the team is rumoured to be considering.
Why,you ask? Because this team could very well use his production. No,really,they could.
In a break from his rehab, Pence visited with Doug Latta, who changed the swings of Justin Turner and Mac Williamson. The result? Twenty hits with three home runs and a grand slam in 54 plate appearances with the River Cats. Make no mistake about it,Pence has found his way at the plate again and with Austin Jackson being as underwhelming as he’s been, they could use Pence back in that outfield. Yes,it’s a crowded one,but if you add Pence in there somewhere in the hopes that he continues his performance he’s been having with Sacramento,you can’t lose. However,if they release him and he signs with a rival club even in the division as tight it is,it might be a move that could cost them big time. Beyond that,it’s not a move you would want to make with a player who has been and still very much is a fan favorite.
That’s all for this week’s edition of Odds & Ends, have a safe Memorial Day and have a great week wherever you may be.