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Manfred: Athletics' Las Vegas plan is 'solid'

MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images / MediaNews Group / Getty

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is still all-in on Las Vegas as the Oakland Athletics' long-term home despite some recent setbacks and criticisms about the process.

"I think Las Vegas is solid, I really do," Manfred told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. "It was a little rough with the mayor, Clark County versus the city. But, you know, from my perspective, (Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman) was the first person who ever talked to me about baseball in Las Vegas.

"I understand all politics are local, and the county is different than the city, but I think the governor and the politicians in general in Las Vegas remain committed to the deal. I think the deal is going to happen."

Athletics owner John Fisher's request to relocate the franchise to Nevada was approved unanimously by his fellow owners in November. However, it's been anything but smooth sailing since then as parties continue to try and finalize a long-term stadium plan in Las Vegas.

The A's prefer to build their new ballpark on the Vegas Strip at the site of the soon-to-be-demolished Tropicana Hotel. This choice has faced plenty of criticism, as the team has still not released stadium renderings. It's also the subject of a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the Nevada State Education Association, which is trying to block $380 million in public funds from being used to build the stadium.

Goodman, the mayor of Las Vegas since 2011, recently spoke out against the Athletics' choice to build on the Strip instead of downtown. Oakland mayor Sheng Thao has also expressed doubts about the team's ability to close the Vegas deal.

There's mounting pressure on the A's to find a place to play in 2025 after their lease at the Coliseum expires, as the Vegas ballpark won't be ready until at least 2028. Possible interim homes for the franchise include Triple-A stadiums in Sacramento and Salt Lake City, or they could potentially negotiate a lease extension to stay in Oakland.

Manfred is expecting a decision on the temporary home in the near future. The league usually releases its schedule for the following season during the summer.

"I think that to most effectively build the schedule, we need to know at some point in the spring exactly where they're going to be," Manfred said. "Having said that, with the geographic possibilities they have, it's not like they're going to Montreal. Nothing is going to drastically change the travel. But we need to know relatively soon."

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