Grassroots effort aims to make Raleigh future home of MLB team

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A new grassroots effort called MLB-Raleigh is hoping to score big support and reel Raleigh in as a top contender for a new Major League Baseball team.

The campaign tweeted Tuesday that it has officially declared the Capital City a candidate for a franchise and is urging people to join the effort.

But, as far a logistics, there's a lot to figure out.

"It'll just bring more people around, more fans that love baseball," said resident Joshua Moore.

"It would be awesome," said resident Charles Boyer. "I think it would be great for Raleigh if we could get it, if it doesn't cost taxpayers a bunch of money to build a new stadium somewhere."

The campaign is bouncing around ideas about where a baseball stadium could go, and there are even renderings.

The most ambitious idea would be replacing Central Prison with a sports venue.

"I don't know how feasible it is to move Central Prison, but it's a good idea," said Boyer.

Campaign Organizer Lou Pascucci says the proposals are just conversation starters and agrees, the Central Prison plan would be the least likely to happen.

"The amount of passion for baseball in this area is it huge, but it is hidden," he said. "There is a lot of money here. There's a huge TV market. I think it's important for Raleigh to get organized because there's no doubt the numbers say we should be a player in this thing."

The Raleigh Tourism Department is not involved in the campaign, nor has been it contacted to join in the efforts.

"The 'Bring MLB to Raleigh' grassroots campaign and the local businesses behind it have no doubt shown the passion that makes us all proud to call Raleigh home," Visit Raleigh & The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance said in a statement to ABC11. "We admire their vision. This area has a deep baseball tradition and vibrant baseball culture, spanning decades at all levels - professional, collegiate, amateur and youth. Adding an MLB team in Raleigh would no doubt be an exciting development. But we cannot comment further as it is still conceptual at this point."

Pascucci acknowledged the obstacles.

"There are lots of hurdles and we know that," Pascucci said. "We're not jumping in here saying, 'This is going to be simple.' But we're also years off of this thing happening, and we're trying to get the ball rolling because nobody else has."

A kickoff party is slated for Saturday, April 13 at Trophy Brewing and Taproom from 1:00-4:00 p.m.
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