Former Magic GM Pat Williams is a very innovative and creative sports businessman. He was one of the driving forces to bring an NBA team to Orlando while and after he was the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1980s.
Williams, a former minor league baseball player, finally retired from the Magic front office in the spring of 2019 and now, like he did back on June 19, 1986, on Wednesday he announced his intention to attempt to bring a professional sports franchise, this time a Major League Baseball team, to the city of Orlando.
The team, Williams revealed on Wednesday, is currently named the Orlando Dreamers.
“With great excitement and anticipation, Pat Williams, the man who brought NBA basketball to Orlando, announced today a renewed effort to make the City Beautiful a Major League Baseball town as well,” reads the home page of the Orlando Dreamers’ web site.
From the iconic Taproom at Dubsdread, Williams revealed Wednesday that Orlando’s team will be called the Dreamers, “a nod to Walt Disney and Arnold Palmer and the many other visionaries who helped develop this area into the special place it has become,” said Williams.
“Orlando has proven in the years since the Magic began playing in 1989 that it is every bit a big league sports town,” said Williams. “Soccer fans have embraced the Orlando City Lions, and now it’s time to step up to the plate and make baseball happen, too.”
That, right there, is the definition of wishful thinking.
Major League Baseball already has two franchises in the state of Florida and neither one of them, regardless of how good the teams are, can draw flies.
According to a June 2019 article in the Independent Florida Alligator, “There have been 57 combined seasons between the Rays and Marlins. They’ve eclipsed 2,000,000 overall fans in just four of them. Both teams did it in their inaugural seasons, and the Marlins did it again in a world championship year (1997) and the first year of a new ballpark (2012).”
The Tampa Bay Rays finished the 2019 season in the playoffs with a stellar 96-66 record. With that impressive season, the Rays finished second to last in Major League Baseball in attendance avergaing a paltry 14,734 fans per game – almost 2,000 less per game than the team ranked ahead of them.
Take a wild guess which team finished last? If you said the Miami Marlins (10,016/game), give yourself a cookie.
So why does Williams think MLB should add yet another franchise to the state of Florida?
Seizing on news that MLB hopes to expand by two cities at some point in the future, Williams revealed a plan today to get community support from Central Florida baseball fans, a plan similar to the one he successfully implemented in order to land NBA basketball here in the late 1980s.
“We had no team, no arena and no guarantee of anything back then. Yet central Florida believed, and the season ticket commitments poured in,” recalls the Co-founder of the Magic. “When the NBA saw that we had secured a staggering 14,000 commitments, it was overwhelmed. I believe to this day that Orlando was granted a team because of this area’s unwavering support in that respect. I have no doubt that this number will be easily exceeded this time around!”
Good luck with that. Dreamers is actually a very approriate name because this is never going to happen.
As for the logo of the MLB team Williams wants to bring to Orlando? Well, it’s not great.
As often happens with such things, people on Twitter had thoughts…https://twitter.com/jetpack/status/1197199637880422400
This looks like the generic template you get when ordering a plaque for your 7 year olds baseball team or a sticker in a quarter machine. Congrats! #OrlandoDreamers— AskAnNFLAgent (@AskAnNFLAgent) November 20, 2019
Why are you guys covering this nonsense? This is like me saying I want to get an nhl team to orlando and then you shoot me pouring ice into a puddle.— Son of Jay (@ISellOldClothes) November 20, 2019
This is some rec league shit.— Nats Fanatic (@TheNatsFanatic) November 20, 2019
Is he planning to merge the Rays and the Marlins— Chris (@ChrisMears00) November 20, 2019
I literally googled “generic baseball logo” and this came up right away pic.twitter.com/Uty2oqxRLD— Jason (@321_hix) November 20, 2019
I’ll get season tickets if they change the name— Nole (@CrimZnole) November 20, 2019