OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Major League Baseball has instructed the Athletics to explore relocation options as the team tries to secure the new ballpark it hopes for to stay in Oakland.
MLB released a statement expressing its longtime concern that the current Coliseum site is "not a viable option for the future vision of baseball."
"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 said in a statement. "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.”
A's owner John Fisher said in a statement he will honor MLB's instructions but remains committed to continuing to pursue the waterfront ballpark proposed for construction in the city's Howard Terminal location, close to the popular Jack London Square neighborhood.
According to the Associated Press, the team announced in November 2018 that they had found a location on the waterfront for their new ballpark. It would cost more than $1 billion but would need to be approved by Oakland's City Council. The goal was to be open by 2023, but if approved now, it wouldn't open until 2027.
Team president Dave Kaval said the lease on the Coliseum is up in 2024, but the venue, where the team has played since 1968, has flooding and lighting issues.
“The existing facility is past its useful life,” Kaval said in a press release. “We had the lights go out the other night and couldn’t even get a game going. I think MLB is really seeing very clearly, and we agree with them, that with a lease only through 2024 and probably the earliest a ballpark can be built at Howard Terminal is 2027, we really need to start looking at some other options to have some viable alternatives for the club.”