‘A’s’ still keen on home venue in Vegas


Oakland Athletics new stadium update Feb. 2023 Image: Oakland Athletics

The Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred stated recently that the MLB team Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has focused on Las Vegas (US) of late as a new home for the franchise.

‘AP’ stated that Manfred, while speaking recently at baseball’s Cactus League media day (teams that train in Arizona form the Cactus League), stated that the league isn’t closing the door on the team remaining in Oakland.

New York (US)-based the Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. The MLB is composed of 30 teams, divided equally between the National League and the American League, with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.

The Oakland Athletics (also known as the ‘A’s’) are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland, California. The Athletics compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League West division. The team plays its home games at the Oakland Coliseum.

The 63,132-capacity Oakland Coliseum, currently branded as RingCentral Coliseum, is a stadium in Oakland, California (US). It is part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex, with the adjacent Oakland Arena, near Interstate 880. The Coliseum is the home ballpark of the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB).

The ‘A’s’ new venue plans include creating mixed-use development with up to 3,000 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of offices and up to 270,000 square feet of retail uses. The proposed development at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal includes plans for a $12 billion mixed-use project built around a $1 billion, 30,000-seat waterfront ballpark.

In Las Vegas, the ‘A’s’ are in negotiations on a pair of potential sites where they could relocate and build a $1 billion ballpark if Oakland doesn’t pan out.

Maintained Manfred, “I think Fisher wants to make the best deal to secure the future of the ‘A’s’, whether it’s in Oakland or in Las Vegas. They need a new stadium. I think that’s kind of beyond debate.”

‘AP’ further stated that the ‘A’s have played at the Coliseum since 1968, and their lease expires after the 2024 season. After withdrawing plans for ballparks in Fremont and San Jose, the team announced in November 2018 it had found a waterfront location for a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, close to the Jack London Square neighborhood.

But the Howard Terminal proposal has been stalled by money and concerns about affordable housing in the area.

Added Manfred, “I don’t think they are in agreement on the affordable housing issue. The threshold issue right now I think in Oakland is how to handle the funding for the infrastructure.”

The ‘A’s’ also have been working with funding issues when it comes to a possible ballpark in Las Vegas.

Oakland’s uncertain future is one reason it had a major league-low payroll of $49 million last year.

The gap between baseball’s big spenders and its small-market clubs prompted the MLB team Cincinnati Reds President Phil Castellini to reportedly tell a supporters group in January that an increasing amount of clubs were out of contention on Opening Day.

The Opening Day is the day on which professional baseball leagues begin their regular season. For Major League Baseball and most of the American minor leagues, this day typically falls during the first week of April, although in recent years it has occasionally fallen in the last week of March.

Manfred said when asked about Castellini’s remarks, “I think that most people who pay attention to our game realize that we do have a disparity issue in the game, both on the revenue side, and consequently on the ability to spend on players. I think sometimes in markets that produce frustration that leads to what I regard to be unfortunate comments, not helpful.”

San Diego is considered a small market, but it has one of the majors’ biggest payrolls after finalizing a $280 million, 11-year contract with Xander Bogaerts (Aruban professional baseball shortstop for the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball) in December. Manfred praised Padres owner Peter Seidler for his investment in his club and said the Padres have gone from a revenue-sharing receiver to a team that pays.

He continued, “The trick for small markets has always been sustainability. Hats off to Peter Seidler. He’s made a massive financial commitment, personally, to making this all happen. The question becomes how long can you continue to do that, and what happens when you have to go through a rebuild.”

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