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The N.Y. Yankees the N.J. Yankees? What could have been

In the late 1980s, Major League Baseball hosted presentations from areas around the country to identify possible expansion or relocation markets. New Jersey officials explained why the state should be considered prime baseball territory, but it was a waste of time, as Major League Baseball shelved the plan.

Periodically George Steinbrenner would make noises about taking his Yankees to New Jersey if he didn't get a new stadium on the west side of Manhattan. But it doesn't appear Steinbrenner was very serious about leaving New York City. He would eventually get assistance from New York City and New York State financially and built a new Bronx park.

As recently as 2000, Major League Baseball concluded that the New York City market could support three teams. But there is no real interest at the moment to bring Major League Baseball to New Jersey in 2012 and even if someone wanted to set up shop in New Jersey, both the Steinbrenner family and the Mets ownership group can block any attempt to establishing a Major League Baseball franchise because of territorial rules.

Opening Day at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx is a special event for Yankees fans.

Those fans should know how close the Bronx Bombers came to East Rutherford. It can be argued that an executive secretary's objection cost New Jersey the Yankees.

Evan Weiner, the winner of the United States Sports Academy's 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award, is an author, radio-TV commentator and speaker on "The Politics of Sports Business." His book, "The Business and Politics of Sports, Second Edition" is available at bickley.com and Amazon and featured on Google books.

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