Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Manfred: Vote on Athletics’ Las Vegas move could happen at June meetings

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says a vote on a possible move of the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas could happen when the owners meet in New York June 13-15.

“It’s possible a relocation vote could happen as early as June,” Manfred said Thursday during his tour of major league stadiums to speak with players in Milwaukee. “It’s very difficult to have a timeline for Oakland unless there’s actually a deal to consider. There’s a relocation process internally that they have to go through, and we haven’t even started that process.

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo said Wednesday that legislative leaders and the Athletics had reached a tentative agreement on a $1.5 billion stadium funding plan that would attract the franchise to Las Vegas. A funding bill must still be approved by the Legislature.

Manfred was asked if he believed the door was completely closed on the possibility of the Athletics remaining in Oakland, where the team has played since 1968.

“I guess you’ll have to ask the mayor of Oakland,” Manfred said. “She said she called off talks after an announcement in Las Vegas. I don’t have a crystal ball as to where anything is happening. No definitive deals have been made in Las Vegas. We’ll have to see how it plays out.” Is.

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The athletics have agreed to use the land at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao released a statement following the Athletics’ land purchase in Nevada, saying he was disappointed that the team did not negotiate with the city as a “true partner”.

The Athletics are seeking a new ballpark to replace the Oakland Coliseum, which has served as their home park since moving from Kansas City and where the team’s lease runs through 2024. The A’s looked at a location near Oakland’s Howard Terminal before shifting its focus out of state.

With their future uncertain, the Athletics are struggling at historic lows on the field and in the stands.

He went 10-41 on Thursday, the fourth-worst 50-game start in major league history, after matching the 1932 Boston Red Sox and 1897 St. Louis Browns. Their average home attendance of 8,695 is almost 3,600 fewer fans per game than any other team.

Manfred was in Milwaukee as Wisconsin legislators were debating potential funding plans for American Family Field, the Brewers’ home stadium since 2001. Manfred expressed confidence that the state would do something.

The Brewers’ lease, which runs through 2030, calls for the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District to cover the repairs. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and team have said the district doesn’t have enough money to pay for what’s needed, and the state surplus offers a chance to fund it without imposing a new tax or borrowing money.

“It’s a ballpark gem,” Manfred said. “It is really important that the current obligation under the lease be funded so that this great ballpark can be maintained on a regular basis. It needs to be done in a timely manner.”

Evers proposed spending nearly $300 million in taxpayer money to improve the stadium, a plan that Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos declared dead on arrival. Republicans who control the legislature have not yet revealed their own option, but talks are ongoing in private.

Voce has said he wants to make a deal that seeks a commitment from the team to stay in Milwaukee long-term and does not rely heavily on money from a one-time budget surplus that is estimated to be around $7 billion. .

“The choices that are made between different ways to spend public money are choices that legislators have to make,” Manfred said. “What I can say is that this ballpark is an asset. The Brewers are interested in a long-term relationship, an extension of the lease that keeps them here.

Manfred said the situation in Milwaukee was “really the opposite of what happened in Oakland.”

“It’s an A-plus facility when it’s built,” Manfred said. “It is well maintained. The ownership has made a commitment to not only field a competitive team, but also to do their part in maintaining this stadium. And most importantly The fans here have enthusiastically supported Tam. I think the real decision that needs to be made here is what can we do to maintain a really great dynamic.

“Oakland, unfortunately, is a facility that was never that great when it started. They made some unfortunate decisions to maintain the ballpark the way that it needed to be maintained. This resulted in declining attendance. , which had an effect on the quality of product the team could put on the field.

AP News writer Scott Bauer contributed to this report.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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