The Athletics’ efforts to develop an appropriate stadium setting while remaining in Oakland have been ongoing for nearly a decade at this point, and it sure seemed like they’d finally come to a workable plan for a new site last fall.
The team even took steps to announce the plan:
The ballpark at Howard Terminal returns the baseball experience to the roots of the sport, while reimagining the ballpark anew. A “ballpark within a park,” the intimate stadium is nestled carefully into its urban surroundings. https://t.co/vLuiX01aT0#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/ZjTXknlU1A
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) November 28, 2018
But part of that plan involved the A’s buying the half of the current Coliseum land owned by the county for $85 million, and the City of Oakland has since sued to block that sale. The A’s want to be able to redevelop the Coliseum in order to help pay for their privately-financed new stadium plans, and the city wants an opportunity to bid on that land.
The lawsuit apparently ticked off not only the A’s, but also MLB and Commission Rob Manfred, who has – to his credit – worked aggressively to get a new ballpark plan together for the A’s so they can remain in Oakland. And the Commissioner laid down the reality of what the city is risking:
Just now Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said A's might move to Las Vegas as a result of Oakland filing lawsuit against the team.
— Sal Castaneda (@sal_castaneda) October 8, 2019
The San Francisco Chronicle originally reported the threat, which sounds like it was more about saying the A’s might have to relocate if they cannot proceed with their stadium plan – be that to Las Vegas (where the Oakland Raiders are moving) or elsewhere.
In the reporting, it tentatively sounds like the threat is helping, because city officials will be meeting with county officials to try to work something out.
Broadly speaking, this all of relevance to baseball fans not only because of the impact to competitiveness for the A’s and other clubs, but also because once the stadium situation in Oakland – and the one in Tampa – is resolved, a two-team expansion and realignment is on the way.