Is the Greater Charlotte Region ready for Major League Baseball? One local man certainly thinks so! For the past 6 years, Rick Curti has worked to bring America’s Favorite past-time to the Queen City. As the self-titled “Founder and CEO” of the Charlotte Bats at Let’s Bring MLB To Charlotte, he has gathered a community of avid fans to his Facebook page, where they currently number over 18,000!
When questioned about his drive and passion to bring the majors to Charlotte, Curti is quick to answer. “We are a Major League City with football and basketball teams doing well. It only makes sense to answer the call and bring in a Major League Baseball team too.”
He easily provides facts that lend weight to his argument. The current baseball team in Charlotte, the Charlotte Knights, routinely lead the minor league in per-game attendance figures – drawing an average of 9,109 fans per game. Total attendance for 2017 was second only to the Indianapolis Indians coming in at 628,526.
In addition to the great fan base enjoyed by the Knights, Curti also sights the size and scope of the city itself. Of the current 30 teams playing host to a major league team, Charlotte’s population is greater than 14 of them. He adds, “We are the 22nd largest media market in the U.S. as ranked by television stations, and the 3rd largest without a current team.”
Field of Dreams or Just a Matter of Time?
All that said, how does Rick Curti see the “Charlotte Bats” going from dream to reality? “The current MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated that expansion is a possibility.” Curti cites Manfred’s comments back in July which brought media attention to the fact that Charlotte was on a short list of contenders. Manfred stated that in addition to Montreal being an option, “Charlotte is a possibility.” It’s only fair to add that no one expects this to happen overnight. That said, Curti himself believes expansion probable within the next “5 or 10 years.”
He goes on to say that there are also 2 existing teams that may one day soon be looking for a new city to call home. Both Oakland and Tampa Bay currently need new ballparks. Additionally, Tampa Bay has routinely struggled with poor attendance. If one of those teams began to actively search for a new “home plate,” Charlotte could certainly compete favorably. The timeline would be greatly reduced if that happens.
Favorite Current Team?
Finally, we just had to ask Curti, an obvious fan of the game, which of the current 30 teams he lends his allegiance to. “Before moving to Charlotte 12 years ago, I was born and raised in LA. Becuase of that, my team is definitely the LA Dodgers.” He added that would change very quickly should the Charlotte Bats come to town.
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