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The Oakland Athletics are heading to Las Vegas – but one more MLB team wants to move, too

Goodbye to the - Milwaukee Brewers?

Baseball game at the Coliseum in Oakland.
Matt Dodd / Unsplash

From the NBA’s Buffalo Braves to the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams to the NHL’s Minnesota North Stars, sports franchises have packed up and relocated teams for any number of reasons, from teams that couldn’t win enough games to owners getting caught in legal troubles. Currently happening in the MLB world, a bit of a foul with the Oakland Athletics might cause another team to want to leave their home dugout. If you love to know the drama behind the scenes in the MLB, here’s the curveball two teams are throwing at the cities they play for.

Fans cheering on a baseball game at the Coliseum.
Matt Dodd / Unsplash

The Oakland Athletics eyes Las Vegas

  • The team was formed in 1901, staying in Philadelphia until 1954.
  • They played for Kansas City until 1967.
  • From 1968 until the present, the team has been in Oakland.

Things are starting off hot in Oakland, California, with their MLB team wanting to move things a little bit out of the batter’s box. While it’s not a done deal yet, the Oakland Athletics want to move to Las Vegas after the close of the 2024 season. If you read the background history of the whole ordeal, it’s been years, possibly decades, in getting them to this point.

The team was originally the Philadelphia Athletics, being in, you know, Philadelphia. The team would go on to be sold a number of times, moving from Philadelphia to Kansas City, with Louisville, Atlanta, and Milwaukee all being almost-homes for the franchise, really taking the team around the bases. The move to Oakland happened in 1968, making it their home base for quite a long time. So, maybe they are due for a change.

A baseball game being played with a crowd watching.
Caleb Woods / Unsplash

The reason for the change-up

The whole thing revolves around the Coliseum, the stadium the team plays at. You could almost blame things on the NFL team, the Raiders. In 1980, the Raiders left Oakland to find greener pastures in Los Angeles but returned to Oakland in 1995. When the team returned, the Coliseum was renovated with that team in mind, not so much the MLB team Oakland still had. The renovated stadium was better suited for football than baseball, and just a few years later, the Athletics were looking for a new dugout to call home.

The Oakland A’s are done being thrown knuckleballs

By 2005, with the Coliseum not looking its best, the club looked to put together a plan for an updated (or new) stadium. Around that time, Oakland’s NFL and NBA teams were both relocating to other places, leaving the Athletics as the sole Oakland team. You’d think this would be enough incentive to get the old stadium up to standard for the club, but it hasn’t.

The lack of hustle from the city led to a deal. If there were no improvements to the Coliseum or a suitable replacement offered instead, the team could move after the 2024 season finished. Negotiations for the relocation heated up in 2021, with Oakland missing a pretty important deadline during negotiations in 2022 to try to keep the team in place.

They are so close to stepping up to a new plate

Now, a whole lot of meetings, talk of funding, money issues, and other political things have been happening in the years since, but the deal still technically isn’t a home run quite yet.

Nevada approved a potential $380 million funding deal, with the club submitting its relocation paperwork in August 0f 2023. But it still needs to be signed off by all remaining 29 MLB franchise owners to be official; at that point, leaving Oakland with no remaining teams to cheer for.

When it’s all said and done, the new stadium would be completed, with the Athletics set to start playing in Las Vegas for the 2027 season. What would the team do in the meantime? Well, they aren’t sure yet. Either their contract at the Coliseum would be extended, or Las Vegas would find them a temporary home until things were finished. There are still a lot of balls in the air.

Announcers commenting on a baseball game in play.
Matt Alaniz / Unsplash

The other team that wants to follow suit

Maybe seeing how the Oakland Athletics are handling their stadium woes, the Milwaukee Brewers reportedly want to steal a play out of their book. Though their stadium at American Family Field (formerly known as Miller Park until 2020) is newer than the Coliseum, having been built in 2001, it needs quite a new lineup.

The difference between the Athletics and the Brewers is that the Brewers actually want to stay put; they just want their field fixed. Governor Tony Evers doesn’t want them to go, either, and tried to put together a $290 million deal to upgrade their old stadium.

A deal was almost made

Though the Governor originally proposed the bill to do the repairs and keep the team in place until at least 2043, the Republicans said no way, and the deal was ejected faster than Lou Piniella at that 2007 Cubs versus Braves game.

The Brewers are contracted to stay until the 2030 season, so they have a bit more time to get things done. The field is owned and managed by Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball District, and it is supposed to pitch in with repair costs and improvements in a good chunk of MLB fields.

Whether the Brewers will make good on their threat to leave a place they’ve called home since 1970 or Milwaukee will find a way to fund the renovations is a battle fans will have to stay tuned for.

While the Oakland Athletics Las Vegas move seems to be rounding third, the fight to keep the Brewers in Milwaukee is just stepping up to the plate. Like the bottom of the 9th of any good game, we’ll have to wait things out and see how these two clubs handle their situations.

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Dannielle Beardsley
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