Report: A's Had 'Longstanding Offer' from Manfred to Pressure Oakland for New Stadium

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 12, 2021

FILE - The Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics stand for the national anthem at the Oakland Coliseum prior to an opening day baseball game in Oakland, Calif., in this Thursday, March 29, 2018, file photo.Major League Baseball instructed the Athletics to explore relocation options as the team tries to secure a new ballpark it hopes will keep the club in Oakland in the long term. MLB released a statement Tuesday, May 11, 2021, expressing its longtime concern that the current Coliseum site is “not a viable option for the future vision of baseball.” (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
AP Photo/Ben Margot, File

The Oakland Athletics reportedly had MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on their side when it came to pursuing a new ballpark, according to Alex Coffey of The Athletic. 

He was willing to "put public pressure on the city" if progress between the city of Oakland and the Athletics franchise were to hit a stalemate. 

Per Coffey, Manfred's offer dated back to 2017. 

The A's, who have played in the city since 1968, have been focused on building a new stadium on the waterfront at Howard Terminal. But the city hasn't voted on its $12 billion proposal, and the team is considering relocating, per ESPN's Jeff Passan. Las Vegas; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, British Columbia; Montreal; and Charlotte, North Carolina, have been proposed as locations.

"The future success of the A's depends on a new ballpark," A's owner John Fisher said in a statement Tuesday. "Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB's direction to explore other markets."

According to A's president Dave Kaval, via Coffey and colleague Steve Berman, the team was planning to move into the new stadium in Oakland by the 2023 season. Per their report, the Howard Terminal project was the only one submitted under the required guidelines in 2019 that was not approved within the calendar year. 

"We had a timeline before where we really felt strongly we could open by 2023. Obviously that’s not going to happen," Kaval told The Athletic in February. "And when people ask me, ‘Hey what is the new timeline?’ All I can say is we don’t know right now."

The city told the team in February that the proposed new park would not open until 2027. The club's lease on the Oakland Coliseum is up in 2024. 

"It doesn’t mean we’ve given up, but it means that we need to keep our options open, because the franchise does need a new ballpark," Kaval said. "We can’t get around that fact, that’s a fundamental thing in the way, and we just don’t have that right now in Oakland."