‘Have To Look For An Alternative’: MLB’s Manfred Says Oakland Should Consider Moving To Vegas

‘Have To Look For An Alternative’: MLB’s Manfred Says Oakland Should Consider Moving To Vegas

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that the Oakland Athletics, whose attendance in 2022 plunged to the lowest level of any team in 18 years, would have to consider moving to Las Vegas.

The Athletics’ lease at the RingCentral Coliseum expires in 2024.

Speaking of the A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays, interviewer Chris Russo asked if Las Vegas and Nashville were alternatives for the teams, saying, “You can’t have baseball being played in that ballpark. This has got to end eventually.”

“I do want to say this: I think the mayor in Oakland has made a huge effort to try to get it done in Oakland. It just doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen,” Manfred replied. “I’m not positive about it. I think the A’s have proceeded prudently in terms of exploring the Las Vegas alternative; given the lack of pace in Oakland I think they have to look for an alternative.”

Manfred said that Tampa’s problems could be surmounted even by staying in the same city: “I see Tampa differently; I think a properly located facility in Tampa, that Tampa’s a viable major-league market. I got a lot of faith in Stu Sternberg; I think they will find a place to get a ballpark built and I think baseball can thrive in Tampa.”

“If Oakland does leave, when would that be?” asked Russo.

“Look, Oakland — it’s hard to say,” Manfred admitted.

“Within five years?” Russo pressed.

“Oh yeah, oh yeah. Something has to happen. We can’t go five more years in the Coliseum,” Manfred answered.

“You think at the end of the day Oakland’s going to Vegas,” Russo stated.

“I didn’t say that — what I said is, and I stand by it, is given the lack of pace in Oakland, the lack of certainty, they have to be looking at Las Vegas as an alternative because they can’t continue to play in a facility they’re in,” Manfred concluded.

ICYMI: @MLB Commissioner #RobManfred talked about Oakland & Tampa and their current ballpark situations. pic.twitter.com/Q7wLSJY6n0

— Chris Mad Dog Russo (@MadDogUnleashed) October 29, 2022

The storied Athletics franchise, despite its mildly peripatetic history, has been one of the most successful teams in baseball. The team started as one of the American league’s charter franchises as the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901. Legendary owner and manager Connie Mack ran the team for 5o years; they won the World Series in 1910, 1911, and 1913, then fielded one of the greatest teams of all time in their World Series winners of 1929-1930.

In 1955, the team moved to Kansas City, where they experienced 13 lean years before they moved to Oakland in 1968. Their legendary 1972-1974 teams were the last teams to win three consecutive World Series titles. They also won the World Series in 1989, giving the franchise nine World Series titles, trailing only the New York Yankees (27) and the St. Louis Cardinals (11).

As far back as October 2019, Manfred made noise about the Athletics moving to Las Vegas, hinting that the city needed to jettison its lawsuit targeting Alameda County so the county would not sell the Coliseum arena site to the Athletics or the team would move to Las Vegas.

“He kind of laid down the law,” City Councilman Larry Reid stated, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, adding, “The commissioner pointed out that Bay Area fans will soon be going to Las Vegas to see the Raiders and that unless things changed, Bay Area fans may be going to Las Vegas or elsewhere to see the A’s as well.”