Relocation and contraction are words no fan wants to hear, especially if it involves their beloved team. But it happens, even to the best of teams, the best of fans and even the most successful of franchises.
But while sports is a passion for most of us, for the select few who own and operate a sports franchise, it is a stressful business, and sometimes the product has to go where a demanding market wants it.
In the case of the Tampa Bay Rays, relocation and contraction have been words that have plagued the franchise, both through years and years of frustrating on the field struggles and during a still-running streak of division winning success.
And while the STORY of the Rays (small fries defeating the big time spending giants) is great dramatic fodder, no one, at least in person, is seeing it. And even if the Rays create a mini-dynasty and win four of the next five championships, the current situation (crappy stadium, poor attendance, terrible local access) at a consistent rate will cause the owners and operators to question the viability of a Tampa franchise.
And while this Rays fan would be immensely sad if his home town team lost it's major league baseball franchise, there is no reason, in the worse case scenario that they DO, indeed, leave, for me to think the franchise, as changed as it would be, couldn't flourish somewhere else.
Here is a look at seven cities that could benefit from the addition of a major league franchise, in this case, the Tampa Bay Rays.