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Manfred: Voting on moving Athletics to Las Vegas could take place at June meetings

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on whether Oakland Athletics would move to Las Vegas could take place when the owners meet June 13-15 in New York City.

“It’s possible that a vote on relocation will take place as early as June,” Manfred said Thursday in Milwaukee as he toured major league stadiums to speak to players. “It’s very difficult to have a timeline for Oakland until there’s actually a deal to consider. There’s an internal relocation process that they have to go through, and we haven’t even started. this process.

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo said Wednesday that legislative and athletic leaders have reached an agreement in principle on a $1.5 billion stadium funding plan that would lure the franchise to Las Vegas. A funding bill still needs to be approved by Parliament.

Manfred was asked if he thinks the door is completely closed on the possibility of the Athletics staying in Oakland, where the team has played since 1968.

“I think you should ask the mayor of Oakland that,” Manfred said. “She said she broke off negotiations after an announcement was made in Las Vegas. I don’t have a crystal ball to know where anything is going. There is no final deal made in Las Vegas. We’ll have to see how that goes.

The Athletics has agreed to use land at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino is located. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao released a statement after the Nevada Athletics purchase of the land, saying she was disappointed the team had not negotiated with the city as a “true partner “.

The Athletics sought a new stadium to replace Oakland Coliseum, which has served as their home park since arriving from Kansas City and where the team’s lease runs until 2024. The A’s eyed a location near the terminal Howard of Oakland before focusing on State.

With their future uncertain, Athletics are struggling at a historic level on the pitch and in the stands.

They started Thursday 10-41 after tying the 1932 Boston Red Sox and 1897 St. Louis Browns for the fourth-worst 50-game start in major league history. Their average home attendance of 8,695 is nearly 3,600 fewer fans per game than any other team.

Manfred was in Milwaukee as Wisconsin lawmakers debated potential funding plans for American Family Field, the Brewers’ home stadium since 2001. Manfred said he was confident the state would find a solution.

The Brewers’ lease, which runs through 2030, asks the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District to cover repairs. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the team said the district didn’t have enough money to pay for what was needed, and the state’s surplus offered a chance to fund it without setting up a new one. tax or borrow money.

“It’s a gem of a ballpark,” Manfred said. “It is really important that the existing obligation under the lease be funded so that this great ballpark is maintained on a regular basis. It has to be done on time. »

Evers proposed spending nearly $300 million in taxpayer dollars to make improvements to the stadium, a plan that Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos declared dead upon his arrival. Republicans who control the Legislature have yet to unveil their own alternative, but talks are underway privately.

Vos said he wants to work out a deal that would require the team to commit to staying in Milwaukee longer and not being so dependent on money from a one-time budget surplus expected to be around $7 billion. of dollars.

“The choices that are made between the different ways in which public funds can be spent are choices lawmakers must make,” Manfred said. “What I can say is that this stadium is an asset. The Brewers are interested in a long-term relationship, an extension of the lease that keeps them here.

Manfred noted that the Milwaukee situation is “really the antithesis of what happened in Oakland.”

“It’s an A-plus facility when built,” Manfred said. “It’s well maintained. The property is committed to not only putting a competitive team on the pitch, but to doing its part in terms of maintaining this stadium. And most importantly, the fans here enthusiastically supported the tam. I think the real decision that needs to be made here is what we can do to maintain this very good momentum.

“Oakland, unfortunately, is a facility that has never been as good as this one when it started. They made some unfortunate decisions not to maintain the ballpark the way it should. declining attendance, which impacted the quality of product the team could afford to put out on the field.


AP News Writer Scott Bauer contributed to this report.


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