No time for flowery prose today. My in-box is full of outrageous requests that are demanding my immediate attention.
Howard County should have a professional baseball team. Either a minor league franchise or a team in an independent professional league.
Let's focus on demographics for a moment. Howard County itself is home to approximately 300,000 people (299,430 according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 estimate).
If HoCo were a city, that would place us at #63 on a list of U.S. cities, ranked by population according to the same 2012 U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. We would be sandwiched between Lexington, Kentucky and Anchorage, Alaska.
How many of the 62 cities ahead of us on that list have either a major league or minor/independent league team? 55. The seven that don't include cities that had such a team until fairly recently (Tucson, Long Beach, Mesa, and Honolulu) or have recently approved the construction of a new baseball stadium (Virginia Beach).
Howard County is relatively compact, from a geographical perspective, for a county. At 253.55 square miles, we are smaller than the equivalent of two Detroits (142.87 square miles x 2 = 285.74 square miles). So the city - county comparison is not wholly without merit.
Let's focus on the Columbia - Ellicott City Metroplex. Combined, our population is 165,449 (based on the 2010 Census). That is still larger than a number of cities that currently have minor league teams. My old stomping ground, Lansing, Michigan has a population of 113,000 and is able to support the Lansing Lugnuts, a Class A minor league team.
Suffice to say, our economy is slightly stronger than Mid-Michigan's.
I floated the idea of professional baseball in Howard County at a forum I attended last fall. I think it is time for a heavier float. This is an idea that should be explored by our policymakers and shapers. If we are looking to the future and want to build a Howard County that appeals to multiple generations, why not have a local baseball team?
The naming process alone should be good for hours of entertainment.
Stay tuned, as more will follow.