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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

There is a growing sense around Major League Baseball that the league will eventually expand from 30 to 32 teams, and Portland, Ore. has consistently been mentioned as a potential landing spot.

Driving the news: The Portland Diamond Project, the group attempting to bring baseball to Oregon, recently revealed a list of 12 charter investors. One of them is Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The investor group has already committed a reported $1.3 billion to the cause, which would be enough to build a new ballpark. This is a major milestone, as it proves that the MLB-to-Portland effort is more than just a pipe dream.

The big picture: When I heard this news, I was instantly reminded of a Baseball America article from about a year ago that explained what MLB might look like with 32 teams.

  • "One proposal would be to geographically restructure into four divisions, which would create a major reduction in travel ... and add to the natural rivalries by not just having them as inter-league attractions, but rather a part of the regular divisional battles." (It would also likely mean every team would use a DH.)

The four divisions: The proposal assumes the two expansion teams end up in Portland and Montreal.

  • East: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals
  • North: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Montreal (Expos?), New York Yankees, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Midwest: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royal, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers
  • West: Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Portland (Hipsters?), San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners

Go deeper: Longtime baseball scribe Jayson Stark wrote extensively on this topic for The Athletic (subscription).

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.

1 hour ago - World

UAE asks U.S. to reinstate Houthi terrorist designation after attack

Secretary of State Tony Blinken (left) listens to United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan during a joint news conference at the State Department iin October. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a phone call Monday to re-designate the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist organization, a senior Emirati official told Axios.

Why it matters: Less than a month after he assumed office, President Biden rolled back the Trump administration’s decision to make the designation. He said it hampered humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people. Since then, the Houthis have escalated their attacks against Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region — including an attack Monday in Abu Dhabi.