Major League dreams
Pat Williams, one of Orlando’s finest visionaries, officially revealed his intentions to bring a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise to Orlando on Wednesday. It was a scene like the one when Williams announced Orlando’s intention of bringing a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise to Orlando in the 1980’s. By 1989, Orlando was home to the Magic.
This vision, named ‘Orlando Dreamers’, will be similar to the pursuit of the Magic. Wednesday’s press conference was for nothing more than to raise initial awareness.
“We feel that the most important step now, in becoming a Major League Baseball city is finding out how badly Central Florida wants to do this.” Williams said. “If we get the kind of response we think we’re going to get and that we’re hoping for, then we will keep plowing forward.”
In an exclusive interview with Central Florida Lifestyle following his retirement from the Magic after 33-years with the team in May, Williams said his primary focus would be on opening the Pat Williams Leadership Library at First Baptist Church Orlando. Although that remains a goal, Williams points to a May news report about potential MLB expansion markets that got his competitive juices flowing again. It was Orlando’s omission from that list that irked him to his core. Among the potential markets named by MLB (Charlotte, Nashville, Montreal, Las Vegas, Portland and Vancouver), Orlando is larger than all of them.
“The 18th largest media market in the country, the largest media market that doesn’t have a major league baseball team. Where 2,000 people a week are moving here. Where last year, 75 million tourist came here.” Williams detailed. “And yet we weren’t even listed among those six? Whew.”
Along with the name ‘Dreamers’, Williams unveiled a t-shirt and hat complete with the team’s logo. As for the inspiration behind the name, he points to the similarities of some of Central Florida’s greatest historic visionaries – Walt Disney, Arnold Palmer, John Young and Jimmy Hewitt.
“They were all dreamers. Every one of them. And these 2,000 people a week who keep moving here, and the 75 million tourist who keep coming… I think they all have big dreams.” Williams added.
How to express interest
Now, the onus is on the community to support the city’s latest ‘dream’. If you are interested in supporting MLB in Orlando, please visit www.orlandodreamers.com and provide your contact information. Those who do will become eligible to get ticketing information before it goes public. Browsers have the option to express interest in season ticket packages. There are no costs associated at this time.