One MLB team could be playing in a new city in the near future. On Tuesday, the Oakland Athletics announced they would start exploring the possibility of relocating after getting permission from Major League Baseball. This decision comes after the A's and Oakland's local government have been battling for years to build a new stadium.
"MLB is concerned with the rate of progress on the A's new ballpark effort with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland," the league’s statement said. "The A's have worked very hard to advance a new ballpark in downtown Oakland for the last four years, investing significant resources while facing multiple roadblocks. We know they remain deeply committed to succeeding in Oakland, and with two other sports franchises recently leaving the community, their commitment to Oakland is now more important than ever.”
The A's have played in Oakland since 1968 at RingCentral Coliseum, which is also known as Oakland Coliseum. The current lease on the stadium expires in 2024. As mentioned by ESPN, the A's are looking to build a waterfront stadium in downtown Oakland at the Howard Terminal site. However, years of failed stadium plans as well as the team asking the city council to vote on the $12 billion mixed-use development has led to MLB stepping in and giving the A's permission to find a new home.
"The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball,” the league’s statement said. “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."
A's team president Dave Kaval wrote an open letter to the fans about the decision. “Today, Major League Baseball instructed the A's to begin to explore other markets while we continue to pursue the Oakland waterfront ballpark project," Kaval wrote. "This is not an easy directive for our fans to hear. We believe in the vision we have presented for a waterfront ballpark; it is a project that will create jobs, housing, open parks and countless community benefits for Oakland residents, and it will set the stage for more World Series titles for our fans."
Kaval continued: "A new ballpark is needed for the A's continued success. We agree with MLB's position that the Coliseum location is not a viable option for the future of the franchise. While we remain committed to succeeding in Oakland and will continue to work toward our waterfront ballpark, we will also follow MLB's direction and immediately begin the process of exploring a new home for the A's."