In 1989 manager Tony La Russa and the Oakland Athletics swept the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. That battle of two Bay Area teams is remembered as the “Earthquake Series.” On Oct. 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck before the start of game three of the series, damaging parts of Candlestick Park in San Francisco, where the game was being played, and postponing the game.
Moving forward, that 1989 series may have the distinction of being memorable for another and utterly different reason. The Athletics’ 1989 World Series win could represent the team’s last world championship in Oakland.
“I really wanted to win here,” said Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt in the 2011 film Moneyball. That film tells the tale of the 2001 Athletics and their quest to use advanced analytics to overcome financial discrepancies and put a championship team on the Network Associates Coliseum field in Oakland. Beane, the real-life general manager of the A’s, may never get that wish if recent reports are correct.
The Athletics’ lease at their home since 1968, Oakland’s RingCentral Coliseum, ends after the 2024 season, and opportunities to build a new venue in California’s Bay Area are dwindling. Officials from the team have been negotiating with the city of Oakland to build a $1 billion stadium as part of a $12 billion redevelopment deal, according to reports. However, time is running out as the city and the Athletics missed an October deadline to make a deal happen.
Meanwhile, the A’s are reportedly considering two possible locations for a new baseball stadium in Las Vegas. Reports indicate those options include the current locations of the Rio, on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip north of Flamingo Road, and the Tropicana, just east of Las Vegas Boulevard at Tropicana Avenue.
In December MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that the Athletics’ relocation fee would be waived if a move to Las Vegas happens. That move would save the team a reported $1 billion.
With MLB’s opening day festivities taking place Thursday, the relocation of the Oakland A’s is on the minds of many baseball fans in the Las Vegas valley. In an interview with ESPN, Don Logan, the president and CEO of Las Vegas’ triple-A baseball team and Oakland A’s farm club the Aviators, said that the city has become a “really good sports market.”
“Las Vegas offers a dynamic that no other team has. We have 45 million visitors annually in this market, and that’s what we want — heads in beds. That’s what Las Vegas is about,” Logan said in the interview.
As the clock on Oakland’s bid to build a new stadium for the Athletics slowly runs out, many in the Las Vegas valley wonder how long it might be until the team calls Las Vegas home with a new billion-dollar stadium as its landing spot, although it’s clear that local baseball people like Logan are already sold.
“It’s a better opportunity here [for the A’s] in the long term,” Logan said.