MLB analyst Peter Gammons is a lot of things. Gammons is a historian, he’s a musician, he’s a philanthropist, and he’s a Hall of Famer. However, one thing Gammons freely admits he isn’t, is a sports progressive. Gammons was interviewed this week and admitted he’s concerned about the NHL expanding to Las Vegas.
I can’t wait to see what happens with the National Hockey League in Las Vegas. I’m skeptical. I’m skeptical about the growth of the area, the long-term demographics. I’m not a huge expansion fan. -Peter Gammons
Gammons is clearly a purist and doesn’t believe leagues should expand. Speaking with MLB in mind, he personally isn’t in favor of either league expanding to Las Vegas. Gammons fears that leagues have stretched themselves too thin.
I fought back originally when they started the expansion in the early ’90s that it was a huge mistake. What it did was, it took away markets that would allow teams to be able to threaten communities and extort them for ballparks, and I think that they’ve essentially driven the prices of players up so much…
You could argue that MLB was better before the 90’s expansion. Colorado, Tampa, Arizona, and Miami have all had some success but they’re not making or breaking the league. The Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals still rule baseball. The NHL on the other hand, is arguably a better league since the 90’s and 2000’s expansion. Even more hockey markets like Minnesota, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Columbus have teams now. Also, the league has done a good job growing the sport in non-traditional markets like Nashville, California, and Arizona.
Gammons doesn’t have an issue with Las Vegas, as his problem is with expansion in general. People are comfortable with the league now, they don’t understand the need to add teams. This is the problem we’re going to run into. Out of town fans still consider Las Vegas as a tourist town, and they won’t change their mind until the puck has dropped. Gammons and other traditionalist prefer sports at its purest form. They adore the history, stories, nicknames, afternoon World Series games.
Unfortunately for Gammons and others, sports are speeding right by them. Chances are the NFL, NBA, and MLB will all eventually expand to Southern Nevada. Las Vegas is the perfect city to begin the new era of professional sports. The T-Mobile arena is the arena of the future, and Las Vegas is the sports city of the future. After attending a game on the Strip, historians, buffs, and snobs will all sing a different tune.
But they’ll probably never admit it.