MILWAUKEE — A vote on the Oakland Athletics’ possible move to Las Vegas could happen within a month, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday on a visit here that coincided with the start of the San Francisco Giants’ series against the Brewers.
“It’s possible that a relocation vote could happen as early as June,” Manfred said.
While there remain steps to be taken, Manfred said he was “optimistic” about the A’s finalizing a public-financing deal with Nevada lawmakers that would pave the way for the move. On Wednesday, Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo announced a tentative agreement with the club, however it must still be approved by state legislators.
The A’s have come to agreements on multiple potential sites for a new stadium in the past month, first on a 49-acre parcel north of the Raiders’ new home and, this week, one on the strip, on the Tropicana Las Vegas property. Per Casey Pratt of ABC7, team officials toured a third site even after announcing the binding agreement with Bally’s Corporation, the owner of the Tropicana.
Manfred said the A’s were “pretty settled” on the Tropicana site, but the relocation vote was still contingent on the approval of the public financing and the A’s completing the required steps in MLB’s internal relocation process, which includes studies on fan interest, possible corporate sponsorships and more, which the commissioner said A’s owner John Fisher “(has) not even started.”
“It’s really now a question of getting a finalized financing package that would allow them to build on that site,” Manfred said. “It’s very difficult to have a timeline for Oakland until there’s actually a deal to be considered.”
All 30 MLB owners would eventually get a vote in the A’s relocation; the last team to move, the Montreal Expos received the approval of all but one owner, the Orioles’ Peter Angelos, who would became neighbors with the now-Washington Nationals.
Manfred said he was in Milwaukee “as part of an ongoing process to meet with players” and that he met with representatives from the Giants and Brewers (though in the words of one San Francisco player who has spoken with him in the past but didn’t participate Wednesday, “nothing productive ever comes of it”).
Ostensibly, however, Manfred’s presence regarded the nearly half-a-billion dollars in maintenance costs the league said this week is required of American Family Field, which has been home to the Brewers since it opened in 2001. While addressing the resistance to pouring more public money into the 22-year-old facility, the commissioner struck a notably different tone than with the A’s.
Manfred said “there is not a scenario in my mind at the current moment” that the Brewers could leave Milwaukee while calling the situation here “the antithesis of what has happened in Oakland, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure it stays that way.”
As for the A’s future in the East Bay?
“Well,” Manfred said, “I think you’d have to ask the mayor of Oakland (Sheng Thao) … You know, I don’t have a crystal ball as to where anything’s going. There’s not a definitive deal done in Las Vegas, and we’ll have to see how that plays out.”