The Oakland A’s proposed project to build a new ballpark at Howard Terminal is not moving as quickly as they want, so the team has officially threatened to explore relocation to another city in the meantime.
That doesn’t mean the A’s are definitely leaving, but the concept is at least back on the table after a few years of being Rooted In Oakland. The natural next question is where else they might go, if they were to end up moving. Team President Dave Kaval said at the time of the announcement that they’d already been contacted by five potential markets, but didn’t specify which ones.
Now there are two official entries on the list of candidates. The A’s are visiting Las Vegas this week to begin discussions, reports Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Journal-Review, making it the first city they’ll travel to check out. Next month they’ll head to Portland on a fact-finding missions, reports John Canzano of Oregon Live.
Neither of those are surprising suitors, as they have long been reported as possibilities for future MLB franchises. The A’s current Triple-A affiliate is the Las Vegas Aviators, and the NFL’s Raiders just moved from Oakland to Vegas.
On the home front here in Oakland, three City Council members responded to the A’s relocation threat with a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on May 14. The councilmembers reaffirmed their commitment to working with the A’s in good faith on the Howard Terminal project; defended that discussions had been ongoing and on track the whole time; disagreed with the conclusion that the current Coliseum site is definitely unviable; and bristled at the league’s relocation threat.
See the full letter below, signed by Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, and Councilmember Carroll Fife.
Three Oakland city council members sent this letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred today: pic.twitter.com/DAyp3QJz0D— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) May 14, 2021
The following sentence is emphasized: “Can you confirm definitively, that if the Council were to take such a vote [before summer recess] for a term sheet regarding the A’s, that you would prohibit any action to seek or pursue relocation during those next steps?”
Kaplan also submitted a request for the Council to take a vote on the term sheet on July 20, reports Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle. Holding a vote by that date, before the Council adjourns for summer recess, is the primary point in the A’s latest aggressive push in the media.
I will burn sage EVERY DAY I am at the coliseum if I have to in order to keep the spirit of baseball thriving in Oakland. Pulling the A’s out of Oakland would be like pulling my still beating heart from my chest. Fans, PLEASE know that I’m with YOU! #Rooted— Dallas Braden (@DALLASBRADEN209) May 11, 2021