Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said today that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has indicated that he sees Las Vegas, Nevada as a possible relocation spot for the Athletics, Sal Castaneda of KTVU reports on Twitter. Manfred’s threat of exploring options in Vegas had been reported recently by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The newly combative stance from MLB’s top official arose after the city of Oakland filed a surprise suit to block a major portion of the A’s stadium plans. Manfred’s already reported comments conveyed a thinly veiled warning that the team and league could consider alternatives. But it was not known that he had specifically floated Las Vegas as a realistic possibility.
Vegas holds particular allure for Major League Baseball and special meaning to Oakland-area fans. After all, Sin City just lured away the Raiders with a massively subsidized new stadium. Whether or not there’s further appetite in Nevada for taxpayer-funded facilities isn’t really clear, but it is at least a facially plausible threat for the commissioner to make. Notably, though, local officials said they were unaware of any actual discussions to this point, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Several other cities have been mentioned at times as potential relocation spots, but it’s not clear which if any would be serious possibilities with the Rays already flirting with Montreal.
Manfred has made clear plenty of times in the past that his strong preference is for the Athletics to remain in Oakland. And the A’s have worked hard to come up with a workable plan built around private financing (which isn’t to say that significant public support wouldn’t be involved). There are surely still plenty of pathways for that result, though it’s also certain that team and league have little appetite for too many more campaigns in the Coliseum.