Oakland Athletics’ The plan to move to Nevada after signing a binding agreement for land near the Las Vegas Strip has not gone down well with the city’s mayor, Sheng Thao, but Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has refuted any suggestion that the organization was not negotiating in good faith. before deciding to go ahead.
Athletics president Dave Kaval announced last week that the organization has agreed to buy land in southern Nevada with plans to build a 30,000-seat ballpark with a partially retractable roof valued at $1.5 billion.
The announcement was met with harsh criticism from Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, who said in a statement that the move occurred «in the midst of negotiations» and suggested that any agreement to remain in Oakland was used as «leverage» for the new A’s deal on Las Vegas.
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«The City of Oakland has worked for years to keep the A’s rooted here in the City of Oakland,» Thao said. «This announcement came in the middle of negotiations and shows that they had no interest in reaching an agreement with Oakland. Oakland is not interested in being used as leverage in the A’s negotiations with Las Vegas.»
But during a meeting with sports editors at The Associated Press on Monday, Manfred dismissed that idea, adding that the A’s worked exclusively with the city of Oakland from 2014 through 2021.
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«I’m sorry for the fans in Oakland. I’m really sorry,» he said. «But for the city of Oakland to point a finger at [owner] John Fisher, it’s not fair.»
«We have shown an incredible commitment to the Oakland fans by exhausting every possible opportunity to try to make something of Oakland,» he added. «Unfortunately, the government doesn’t seem to have the will to do it.»
The Oakland Coliseum has been the home of the A’s since 1968 when the team moved to Oakland from Kansas City.
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Manfred said Monday that he believes the move will be beneficial to the franchise.
«His attendance has never been outstanding, let’s put it that way,» he said.
«For me, everything should be positive on the competitive front,» he added. «You have really smart baseball operations people. You have owners who want to win, and I think Las Vegas will present a real opportunity to increase revenue. So I think you’re going to have a good product.»
Joe Morgan of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.