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There are myriad factors that could inhibit MLB in Portland, and any potential expansion is still years away

COURTESY PORTLAND DIAMOND PROJECT - Artist's renderings show what a baseball stadium in Portland might look like, with seats behind home plate featuring a view of the Fremont Bridge.The bleachers are empty, the dugouts are bare: the novel coronavirus pandemic has shuttered sporting events across the country this spring, from the stadiums of the major leagues to corner lot pick-up games.

But what if there's a silver lining to this abrupt closure?

Rob Neyer is a sports writer and the commissioner of The West Coast League, a collection of 12 amateur collegiate baseball teams including the Portland Pickles. He said it's hard to know what will happen, either with the league he administers or the future of Major League Baseball, but he speculates this could be a blessing in disguise for the major league aspirations of the Portland Diamond Project.

"Major League Baseball has literally never expanded because of internal, organic dynamics," Neyer said.

Historically, he said, the league has only added new franchises because of some outside factor: a sudden need to generate income quickly, or political or legal pressure.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can find their story with a "Weekend Edition" interview of Rob Neyer here.

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