Rob Manfred: Viewing A's Potential Move to Las Vegas as Bluff 'Is a Mistake'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 13, 2021

DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 12: Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. speaks during a press conference announcing a partnership with the Players Alliance during the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Coors Field on July 12, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred cautioned against not taking the possibility of relocation for the Oakland Athletics seriously amid the franchise's ongoing struggle to get a new stadium in the Bay Area.

"Las Vegas is a viable alternative for a major league club, and there are other viable alternatives I have not turned the A’s loose to explore," he told reporters.

Manfred added that "thinking of this as a bluff is a mistake."

In May, the A's shared a statement from MLB in which the league expressed its "concern with the rate of progress on the A's new ballpark effort with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland."

Oakland A's @Athletics

A statement from Major League Baseball: <a href="https://t.co/Ujzll7cMWF">pic.twitter.com/Ujzll7cMWF</a>

Team president Dave Kaval also shared an open letter to confirm that MLB "instructed the A's to begin to explore other markets while we continue to pursue the Oakland waterfront ballpark project."

Dave Kaval @DaveKaval

A message to our fans <a href="https://twitter.com/Athletics?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Athletics</a> <a href="https://t.co/xF6TbALbzW">pic.twitter.com/xF6TbALbzW</a>

The A's are attempting to see through a plan to construct a new ballpark and a combination of residential and commercial developments at Howard Terminal. The stadium, which would seat around 34,000, would be privately financed.

However, the Bay Area News Group's Shayna Rubin wrote that the amount for the entire project comes in at $12 billion. The city of Oakland would have to commit $855 million for "infrastructure improvements."

Justin Berton, a spokesperson for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, said in April the proposal "appears to request public investment at the high end for projects of this type nationwide."

Last week, city administrators provided a report in response to the Howard Terminal plan. Under the terms, the tax burden on the city would be slightly lesser, and the A's would commit to not relocating for a period of 45 years.

Athletics officials haven't been shy about pursuing a possible move to Las Vegas, with Kaval visiting the city earlier this month.

"We’re just getting so much positive feedback in Southern Nevada and Las Vegas from all the key constituents and stakeholders," he told reporters. "We’ve been very impressed with the can-do spirit and the interest in Major League Baseball here, and we remain committed to taking additional steps to see if that might be the option or the future home of the A’s."

The Oakland City Council will weigh in on the Howard Terminal stadium on July 20, and their decision could go some way toward achieving a resolution.