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Elephant Rumblings: Vegas relocation still an option, per Kaval

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Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval flips through maps and renderings of the development plan while leading a private tour of the Howard Terminal site in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 where the baseball team is hoping to build its new stadium. Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

Last Thursday, prospects for a new Oakland Athletics ballpark at Howard Terminal on the Oakland waterfront advanced significantly when the City Council voted to certify the project’s Environmental Impact Report. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf celebrated the vote, projecting confidence that sufficient momentum has been gained to see the project through. According to Jeff Gillan of KSNV-TV, Schaaf all but guaranteed reporters the deal will get done, saying:

“But last night set the foundation. It is the point of no return. This project is happening and it is going to happen in a spectacular way.”

However, Gillan also indicated that A’s President Dave Kaval struck a far more moderate tone in conversation between them on Friday:

“Well, it’s an important step and it’s a necessary step. But it’s certainly not a sufficient step to getting a binding agreement to build a ballpark in Oakland...I think the toughest hill is yet to be climbed, and we’ll see how it plays out over the next three to five months.”

Kaval assured Gillan that the A’s continue to develop options in Las Vegas and have made offers on four sites there. At some point, the organization intends to name a site and begin a conversation with state and municipal officials about partnering on a new A’s ballpark in Las Vegas. Elected officials have reportedly indicated there is no interest in publicly subsidizing the project.

In reading AN members’ comments on recent developments, it seems to me there is a general consensus that the EIR certification is a big step closer to keeping the A’s in Oakland, but that the finish line remains some distance away and we’d best not count our chickens before they’ve hatched. As a community, we share the mayor’s enthusiasm but see the future with a more cautious outlook informed by many years of stagnation, false starts, and setbacks.

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