Wherever you stand on the endless debates about Vancouver being a “world class city” or not, the fact that it only has one professional sports team in North America’s big four leagues can be tough to swallow.
Ever since the decamping of the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis, pundits and politicians alike have made noise about possibly bringing NBA basketball back. And while that still appears to be a pipe dream, the question of another major league sport coming to town was raised recently.
The topic came up as Major League Baseball brass instructed the Oakland Athletics to seek relocation options as the team’s plan for a new ballpark was stalled. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has mentioned Vancouver as a possibility for a franchise (along with Montreal, Portland and Las Vegas, among others), and officials from the league even visited Vancouver in the recent past.
Alas, a large majority of well-informed folks would tell you it’s incredibly unrealistic for a number of reasons, including the fact there’s no MLB-standard stadium at the ready in the city, nor does there seem to be a deep-pocketed owner ready to take on the enormous cost that would come with running a major league baseball franchise.
But you know what was also unrealistic? Angels in the Outfield. And maybe—just maybe—if Vancouver builds it, they will come. (Yes, I’m exhausting every baseball reference I have.)
BCers want a @MLB team here in Vancouver and so do I! As a long-time fan, I'd love our city to host major league baseball. Meanwhile, I look forward to catching the @vancanadians at Nat Bailey - maybe as soon as August, if the borders open. Play ball!https://t.co/HYiCPQRMdk— Kennedy Stewart (@kennedystewart) June 22, 2021
After all, before the Toronto Blue Jays stepped in, the Vancouver Canadians served as a minor league affiliate for the Athletics. And the Canadians’ own popularity has shown that there’s at least something of an appetite for baseball in Vancouver.
Here’s our top five list of dream locations for an MLB stadium in Vancouver that almost definitely will never happen. Probably.
5. BC Place
This is the only “realistic” venue on the list and it might not even be that. When the Arizona Diamondbacks were looking for a place to temporarily play a couple years back, officials checked out the viability of BC Place.
The stadium was originally built for baseball, but has since been repurposed for both varietals of football and is considerably shorter than even the smallest major league baseball fields. It’s also not the most amazing place to watch any sports… and this is a dream list, so sorry BC Place.
4. Whatever this is
Time to pull this old idea back outta the old idea bag! pic.twitter.com/z3YZsvswET— Don Falconer (@TheFalconer) May 11, 2021
Let’s go! Impossibility of basically everything associated with this aside… how cool would this be? I can imagine the home run call now: “It’s back, and it’s gone, all the way into the inlet! Vancouver wins!”
In a town in which everyone who owns a single-family household is a millionaire, people could just pool their money and get it done, right? You could probably make it happen with Shaughnessy alone.
3. Nat Bailey Stadium
One of the more beloved landmarks in the city, if you don’t enjoy going to The Nat to take in a game, well I hope you don’t live in Vancouver, because it’s one of the better events that the city routinely puts on.
Unfortunately, it’s far too small to host MLB games with a capacity of 6,500. Is it possible to add, like, 45,000 seats to that? I’m no expert in anything but no it absolutely is not. A kid can wish, though.
2. Directly across the street from Nat Bailey
Now we’re talking! Ever notice how there’s a huge fenced off area right across the street from Nat Bailey that has absolutely nothing going on in it? I have. And I’ve seen the signs from a development company that say “Good things take time.” I’ve also laughed at them.
But hey, they could really make good on that promise by just deciding to build a baseball stadium on the land. We’ve already got one right there, let’s make it two. Throw the condos on top, for good measure.
1. The old Molson Brewery on Burrard
1. The old Plaza of Nations
Don’t say Vanmag never gave you value for that click. That’s right, we have two spots at number one. Could we just have done six in the ranking? Sure, yeah, but that’s weird.
The old Molson Brewery is currently being redeveloped into what is apparently going to be called Quantum Park and will feature 25-storey towers. But I think if we calmly and rationally explained to Concord Pacific how much more fun it would be to have a baseball stadium there, they would just agree and do that instead.
Like the brewery, the Plaza of Nations and its old casino have stood mostly dormant for years. And it’s also right on the water in a very central spot that’s currently nothing more than a piece of scenery on a bike lane. Of course, it’s also the site of a proposed massive redevelopment.
Anyway, if a major developer does decide to use this article as the spark of an idea, let this article serve as a legal guarantee that I am entitled to front row season’s tickets. Although at this point, I’d be very happy with just being in the crowd at a C’s game.