Should there be baseball in New Jersey?

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Garden State has a small piece of baseball history, but it's never had a franchise of its own. Could it work?

Over at SBNation.com, David Roth opines on the possibility of Major League Baseball bringing a team to New Jersey. As a native New Jerseyan I have mixed feelings about it, but Roth lays out the sales pitch and the corresponding roadblocks:

It is worth noting there are some reasons why this would be difficult. Major League Baseball's antitrust exemption grants teams territorial rights, and New Jersey is squarely within the territory of both the New York Yankees and New York Mets. (There is a part of New Jersey that cheers for the Phillies, but we generally don't talk about that. It's uncouth. Just drop it.) But surely a suitably motivated owner could deal with that. And let's leave aside, as well, the question of where the New Jersey team -- it would be named either the New Jersey Fried Hot Dogs or the New Jersey Intricate Simultaneous Inferiority/Superiority Complexes, or "Plex" for short -- would find its fans, given how many people in the state already have a strong baseball allegiance. These are small things. We do not have time for these trifling concerns. We are talking about baseball, now.

Also I suppose there's the question of space, which is a significant one insofar as the Fried Hot Dogs/Plex would likely want to play in the surpassingly dense and expensive northeast corner of the state, which is blanketed by mini-, mega-, Mc- and other types of mansions. There is not much room in this dense burbscape for a new stadium, unless you're willing to go for an eminent domain gambit that replaces the entire town of Nutley with Bob's Discount Furniture Park at Bon Jovi Yards and the associated parking. But this is another small thing, really.

What's important, what matters, is that Jersey is ready. It is densely populated and comparatively affluent, although a disproportionate amount of the region's discretionary income is spent on garish decorative sculpture -- e.g. twin marble lions positioned at the foot of the driveway -- and so probably unavailable for season tickets at present. But we care about baseball, and the Yankees and Mets have each given fans plenty of reasons -- moral/ethical and baseball-related, respectively -- to look for a better option. Boras' plan involves the Tampa Bay Rays moving north, which would certainly be nice, but even an expansion team would do.

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