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Athletics’ proposed Las Vegas move ‘not a definitive deal,’ Rob Manfred admits

Manfred admits A’s proposed move to Vegas ‘not a definitive deal’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Athletics’ push for a new Las Vegas stadium could take one more step up its wobbling ladder in just three weeks, as MLB commissioner Rob Manfred believes owners could vote on relocation from Oakland at their June 13-15 meetings in New York.

While the A’s would need approval from 75 percent of MLB owners — or 23 “yes” votes — Manfred admitted the door isn’t completely shut on the team staying in Oakland, the city it’s called home since 1968.

“Well, I think you’d have to ask the mayor of Oakland that,” Manfred responded to reporters Thursday in Milwaukee when asked what the current process means for the city (h/t The Associated Press). “You know, I don’t have a crystal ball as to where anything’s going.

“There’s not a definitive deal done in Las Vegas. We’ll have to see how that plays out.”

Oakland mayor Sheng Thao said in April that the city and the A’s had been “the closest we’ve ever been to landing a deal” when Kaval called to tell her the franchise had an agreement to purchase land to build a new stadium in Las Vegas .

Still, Thao told NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai last month that she’d be all ears if the A’s wanted to resume talks to keep the team rooted in Oakland.

“I really hope that they have a change of heart and really, truly feel that they do,” Thao told Mathai. “If they would call me, I would pick up because it’s not about me, it’s not about [A’s owner] John Fisher, it’s really about the bigger, more complex issues around the fan base, what it means to drive the economy here in the city of Oakland.

“And what it means to really be rooted here in Oakland. And so I really hope we can set aside our differences and work something out, but at the same time, if it doesn’t work out, I’m excited for all the opportunities that could be at Howard Terminal.”

The A’s and Nevada officials on Wednesday announced a tentative agreement for a public financing package that would help fund the team’s new Vegas ballpark. However, a funding bill still must be approved by the state legislature, which closes its session June 5, and Manfred said “it’s very difficult to have a timeline for Oakland until there’s actually a deal to be considered.”

The Nevada Independent on Friday obtained draft bill language that outlines “a state and Clark County-offered package” of no more than $380 million to fund part of the $1.5 billion stadium’s construction. The A’s originally sought $500 million in public financing, and the draft bill language notes the team would cover cost overruns on the project.

The A’s have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana casino resort sits, but Manfred said the relocation vote still depends on the approval of the public financing package — which The Independent reported Friday would require a simple majority in the Nevada legislature — and the team completing the required steps in MLB’s internal relocation process, which the commissioner said Fisher has not yet started.

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Manfred was in Milwaukee, while Wisconsin legislators discussed potential funding plans to improve American Family Field, the Brewers’ home stadium since 2001. Manfred said currently “there is not a scenario in my mind” that the Brewers could leave Milwaukee, calling the situation as “the antithesis of what has happened in Oakland, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure it stays that way.”

“Oakland, unfortunately, it’s a facility that was never as good as this one when it started,” Manfred said, per The AP. “They made some unfortunate decisions not to maintain the ballpark in the way that it needed to be maintained. It resulted in a decline in the attendance, which had an impact on the quality of product the team could afford to put on the field.”

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