Is Orlando trying again to get in the game of having a major-league team of its own?
Longtime sports exec and promoter Pat Williams wants to see it happen, and plans to talk about it Wednesday in what is being billed as a “significant announcement regarding future of Orlando professional sports.”
Williams, 79, is the former general manager of the Orlando Magic basketball team and was involved in unsuccessful efforts to lure an expansion team in the 1990s.
The renewed push raises several questions, most specifically whether he plans to target luring the Rays, who have been frustrated in their quest for a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area and are trying to explore a plan to split games in future seasons with Montreal. Or the Marlins, who have struggled with attendance issues in south Florida.
Rays officials were not aware of the news conference, and their top execs, as well as all MLB officials, are in Arlington, Texas, this week for the scheduled owners meeting.
Or is he positioning Orlando to be ready for if/when MLB next considers expansion? Though it would be hard to imagine adding a third team to the state given the lack of the support for the first two.
Also, does Williams have the backing of either the DeVos family or Disney, which would add clout and money to his bid?