Nothing is A-OK in Oakland.
The Oakland Athletics have long been fighting for a new stadium in the Bay Area, but it seems as though their latest attempts are coming up empty, and it may stay that way. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Tuesday that MLB has officially given the A’s the go-ahead to explore leaving Oakland to find a new home for their squad.
“The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball,” the league said in a statement. “We have instructed the Athletics to begin to explore other markets while they continue to pursue a waterfront ballpark in Oakland.
“The Athletics need a new ballpark to remain competitive, so it is now in our best interest to also consider other markets.”
While there’s something charming about the dumpy Oakland Coliseum hosting the rough-and-tumble, scrappy A’s, there’s no denying that the building is a rotting eyesore of a park. Whatever the reason is for a new stadium not being built, whether it’s politics, money, ownership or all of the above, it truthfully isn’t a viable venue for pro baseball in 2021.
From rooted in Oakland to potentially uprooted in Oakland, here are some of the rumored potential landing spots when, if ever, the A’s do pack up and leave the Bay Area.
The most obvious option here, Vegas has seen success with professional franchises heading to the desert in recent years. The NFL’s Raiders are the latest example, with the NHL expansion Golden Knights making noise and heading to a Stanley Cup Final in their first year of existence.
While baseball and Vegas seemingly go together like a jackhammer and fine china given the sport’s sordid history with gambling, with the league moving closer and closer to being more OK with betting, it’s not as taboo as it has been in years past.
Vegas’ aura and the A’s make a lot of sense as a pairing.
Home to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights and Durham Bulls, North Carolina has already proven to be a viable option for baseball.
While college football is king in the Carolinas, a thirst for pro sports in Charlotte has long been apparent, with fans clamoring for another pro sports team for years. After the Hornets upped and left for New Orleans, it didn’t take long for the NBA to replace them with the (then) Bobcats, and now Hornets once again. Charlotte is also home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
It could certainly make sense for the Oakland A’s to become the next “Battered Bastards of Baseball.” The Trail Blazers could certainly use some company, too. (And the Timbers, we guess.)
Portland, Ore., has long been hot after an MLB squad, with the city often being named as an option for rumored team relocations (the Expos and the Marlins were two specific examples).
To add smoke to the Portland fire, an MLB-grade ballpark is scheduled to open in 2022 that will seat 35,000 to 45,000 people and featured a retractable roof. The market is already bigger than others that currently host teams (Kansas City, Cincinnati).
Overtures have been made to Montreal in recent years, with the Tampa Bay Rays reportedly considering splitting home games between Florida and North of the Border in Montreal in 2019.
How about MLB just give them a full-time team instead?
While baseball in Montreal failed more because of a lack of interest than actual success of the team (though, the Expos’ late ’90s teams didn’t help that case much), Canada seems ready to give it another try. Further expansion into another country will certainly help MLB’s case to become a more global game, after all.