Wednesday, July 17, 2024

A’s considering Triple-A stadiums in Sacramento and Salt Lake City for temporary 2025-27 home, per report

Many questions remain as Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher moves forward with his plan to relocate the team to Las Vegas. Fisher and the A’s recently missed a deadline to release an actionable stadium plan and their end of the financing, though that did not result in the expected consequences. The A’s will continue to receive revenue sharing money, MLB and the MLBPA agreed.

Fisher and the A’s must also figure out where the team will play from 2025-27. Their lease at RingCentral Coliseum expires after the 2024 season and the new ballpark in Las Vegas is not expected to open until 2028. The club is exploring several options, including working out a short-term lease to stay in Oakland and playing games at Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fisher and other member of the A’s leadership team have begun visiting Triple-A stadiums in Sacramento (Giants) and Salt Lake City (Los Angeles Angels) as they seek a temporary home for the 2025-27 seasons. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Members of the A’s executive team, including owner John Fisher and president Dave Kaval, toured Sutter Health Park on Thursday in Sacramento, California, a person with knowledge of the trip told the Review-Journal. The park is the home of the Sacramento River Cats, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

The A’s will continue their due diligence later this week, the source said. They’re scheduled to visit Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, home of the Los Angeles Angels’ Triple-A affiliate, the Salt Lake Bees.

This is a fairly urgent matter, it should be noted. MLB releases the next season’s schedule in July each year and it takes time to actually put the schedule together. The A’s have to figure where they’ll play in at least 2025 fairly soon so they can work out all the logistics (especially if they wind up sharing an MLB or Triple-A stadium) and the league can build a workable schedule. 

MLB and the MLBPA must sign off on any 2025-27 stadium plans and, if the A’s intend to play in a Triple-A ballpark, the union will want to make sure that stadium is upgraded to major-league standards. Sahlen Field in Buffalo was upgraded when the Toronto Blue Jays played home games there in 2020 and 2021. MLB players should have MLB-caliber facilities, not Triple-A quality.

The easiest solution would be working out a short-term lease to stay in Oakland or sharing Oracle Park with the Giants. There is precedent for two MLB teams sharing a ballpark — the most recent example is the New York Mets agreeing to let the New York Yankees playing in Shea Stadium for two seasons (1974-75) while Yankee Stadium underwent extensive renovations. Unless the A’s stay in Oakland, Oracle Park is the least painful solution.

Fisher’s stripped-down roster went 50-112 in 2023, the second most losses in the franchise’s 123-season history. The A’s played in Philadelphia from 1901-54, in Kansas City from 1955-67, and in Oakland since 1968.

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