Rob Manfred on A’s getting stadium done in Oakland: ‘It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen’


Oakland, it would appear, is on the verge of losing another team to Las Vegas, with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred expressing his doubts that a new stadium will get built, telling Chris “Mad Dog” Russo of Sirius XM he expects the A’s to relocate within five years.

“I think the mayor has made a huge effort to try to get it done in Oakland. It just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen,” said Manfred. “I think the A’s have proceeded prudently in terms of exploring the Las Vegas alternative. Given the lack of pace in Oakland, I think they have to look for an alternative.”

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Among the oldest venues in baseball (it opened in 1966), the Oakland Coliseum is badly outdated by today’s stadium standards, a fact reflected in the team’s consistently paltry attendance figures, averaging a league-low 9,973 fans at home games this season. Despite countless referendums related to public funding, it seems the A’s are no closer to breaking ground on a planned 35,000-seat waterfront stadium than they were when the Howard Terminal proposal was first submitted over four years ago. In dire need of modern amenities, the team would obviously prefer to stay in Oakland, though in the absence of any real progress, following the Raiders to Las Vegas seems to be a more likely outcome.

“It’s hard to say. Something has to happen. We can’t go five more years in the Coliseum,” said Manfred. “What I said is, and I stand by it, given the lack of pace in Oakland, the lack of certainty, they have to be looking at Las Vegas. They need an alternative because they can’t continue to play in the facility that they’re in.”

If the A’s do end up in Vegas, becoming the first MLB franchise since the Montreal Expos (later rebranded as the Washington Nationals) to relocate, they’ll be the third team to skip town since 2019, joining the Raiders and Warriors (now playing on the other side of the bridge in San Francisco) as fellow defectors. While Oakland faces a grim reality, Manfred is much more hopeful about the fate of another small-market club, conveying cautious optimism that the Rays will ultimately build a new park, allowing them to stay in Tampa for the foreseeable future.

“I see Tampa differently,” opined Manfred. “Tampa is a viable major-league market. I got a lot of faith in [owner] Stu Sternberg, I think they will find a place to get a ballpark built, and I think baseball can thrive in Tampa.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images