Manfred says Oakland A needs a deal ‘quickly’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Oakland Athletics must quickly reach a binding agreement to…
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Oakland Athletics must quickly reach a binding agreement for a new ballpark and that relocation could be considered if an agreement is not reached for a facility in the Bay Area.
“I was at the Colosseum myself recently,” he told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday ahead of the All-Star Game. “The state of the Colosseum is a very serious issue for us. I said, it’s not news. It’s not a major league quality facility at this point.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is pushing for approval for a waterfront baseball stadium at the Howard Terminal. The San Francisco Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission voted last month to reclassify a 56-acre terminal at the Port of Oakland as a mixed-use area where a new stadium could be built. The team, led by majority owner John Fisher, also explored a possible new ballpark in Las Vegas.
An Oakland City Council vote on a baseball stadium is possible later this year.
“Mayor Schaaf continues to work hard to try to get an arrangement, an agreement to develop the Howard Terminal site,” Manfred said. “I hope it can still happen. And I said it recently and I say it again, it has to happen now. It has to be done.
The A’s have played at the Coliseum since 1968 and their lease expires after the 2024 season.
After proposing and withdrawing plans for ballparks in Fremont and San Jose, the team announced in November 2018 that it had found a waterfront location for a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, close to Jack London Square area. The stadium would cost over $1 billion, with views of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and the Port of Oakland.
After trading veterans and cutting payrolls to a low of $48 million on opening day, the A’s are the worst AL 32-61 and drew 362,756 home fans to an average of 8,637.
“I think Oakland, the A’s, face an extraordinarily difficult situation. John Fisher literally invested tens of millions of dollars over my entire tenure as commissioner in an effort to get a stadium built in Oakland,” Manfred said. “I think negativity always accompanies the situation where players are traded and a club, for whatever reason, decides to start over. But I think overall John is committed and has invested some very significant dollars to trying to put baseball in Oakland on an even, long-term, sustainable footing.
A’s president Dave Kaval said last month that he made weekly trips to Las Vegas, investing time in design work and feasibility studies. Manfred declined to discuss whether MLB would waive charging a relocation fee to the team — MLB hasn’t charged a relocation fee in the past.
“Mr. Fisher has to decide if he wants to make a deal or if he can make a City Council-approved deal that would keep the A’s in Oakland,” Manfred said. process that processes a relocation request, and I guess that’s where it goes if in fact no deal can be reached in Oakland.”
Baseball owners have postponed a possible expansion from 30 teams to 32 until Oakland and Tampa Bay get offers for new ballparks.
“I have to solve Oakland and Tampa before we can have a realistic conversation about expansion,” Manfred said.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.