Expansion Series 5: New Orleans

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, every die-hard sports fan has missed out on some key events that otherwise would have occurred.

The possibility of not having a football season (college or professional) has me pinching myself to make sure that I’m not living in a dream. In an uncertain time in the sports world, it’s perfectly normal to let the mind wander when thinking about hypotheticals that otherwise would never happen.

Sports is what brings us all together, and one thing that every sports fan has in common is that the player, team, or coach that they cheer for represents something unique to them. The majority of fans resonate with a team regionally, and mainly reside locally. That being said, I will dive into each region that is craving a major sports team.

Shifting gears back to the south, there is one thing that each state in the southernmost region of the country is common: a divine love of sports and a consistent breed of talent.

SEC sports are treated as a religion in certain areas, and the state of Louisiana is no stranger. New Orleans has been on the brink of some serious breakthroughs in the world of football and basketball, but have been put through agony in the case of injuries and perhaps more serious, less-than-reputable officiating.

The Pelicans were so excited to be given the number one draft to take the promising and thunderous Zion Williamson from Duke, but injury issues relating to his monolithic size resulted in an early injury that he quickly rose above once he laced up and took the court consistently. Then when he started to heat up, the season was abruptly cut short.

Additionally, in 2018, the Saints were on the fast lane to the super bowl to face the ever-so-exciting Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs or the veteran and stress-tested defense of Bill Belichek and the New England Patriots. The only thing standing in the way of the biggest game of the season: The Los Angeles Rams. This postseason was some of the most exciting games in recent football history, with an unforeseen level of talent that presented endless possibilities. At the final hour, a questionable call, or shall I say lack thereof, caused a disappointing end to the game resulting in a loss. Each and every year, the Saints are an incredibly talented team that can never seem to reach the finish line.

In any case, the southern states are emphatic about sports, so there is more than enough room for a baseball team to expand. Unfortunately, the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins – and a contender for the best name in the league, the New Orleans Baby Cakes – closed its doors this year and relocated to Wichita. Even though the closest thing to professional baseball has left, there is still potential for a professional team to take its place. The hockey scene swiftly began and ended in 2002 when the New Orleans Brass emerged into the ECHL, so I doubt there would be any desire for a hockey team to return.

For more in this series, read why Las Vegas, Buffalo, Indianapolis and Houston are also in need of expansion teams.

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