This is why politicians and MLB commissioners need to choose their words carefully: After invoking Sin City in a meeting with Oakland officials, Rob Manfred says there are no plans to move the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas.
No secret that Henderson officials have been wooing MLB teams for a possible move, as talks with the Arizona Diamondbacks were made public earlier this year. And it’s understandable that Manfred would grow weary of the back and forth between Alameda County and Oakland over the future of the Coliseum site, tied financially to a new downtown Oakland waterfront ballpark. But invoking the name of a specific locale, as opposed to a general warning that the team could move without a financially solid new ballpark, predictably became the news hook in coverage of the Coliseum and the future of the A’s in Oakland. And MLB will not move forward on relocation or expansion until all efforts to resolve ballpark issues in Tampa and Oakland are exhausted. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
“In a recent meeting with the Mayor of Oakland, I did mention Las Vegas in the context of pointing out that the A’s might have to relocate if a new stadium can’t be built in Oakland,” Manfred told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday. “There is, however, no plan to move to Las Vegas.”
If the situation revolving around construction of a new waterfront stadium for the A’s in Oakland doesn’t work itself out and it becomes necessary to consider relocation, Manfred said not just Las Vegas would be in consideration.
“There will be a formal process that will consider all potential relocation sites,” he said.
The bottom line: MLB teams don’t move that often. Moving a multi-billion-dollar enterprise is more than just signing a lease at a new Henderson ballpark: it requires MLB approvals, negotiations between MLB and its broadcast and business parters, and a few years of lame-duck play for the A’s. So let’s write this off to hyperventilating headline writers and social-media enthusiasts in taking Manfred’s words too literally.
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