Vancouver generating buzz as Oakland A's contemplate move

May 11 2021, 3:27 pm

The Oakland Athletics could be on the move, leaving baseball fans in Vancouver dreaming about them moving north.

With efforts to build a new stadium in Oakland proving to be unsuccessful to date, Major League Baseball put out a statement today saying it has “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,” MLB announced.

So… how about Vancouver?

ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan is reporting that the most likely landing spot for the Athletics is Las Vegas, a city that also recently snagged the NFL’s Raiders from Oakland. But Passan also listed five cities that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has mentioned as expansion possibilities in the past: Portland, Nashville, Charlotte, Montreal, and yes, Vancouver.

Indeed, it was nearly three years ago that Manfred mentioned Vancouver as a potential expansion city in a television interview at the MLB All-Star Game in Washington.

“We have a real list of cities that I think are not only interested in having baseball, but viable in terms of baseball. Places like Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Nashville in the United States. Certainly Montreal, maybe Vancouver in Canada,” said Manfred.

Certainly, there are a number of challenges that Vancouver would face as a prospective MLB market. To start with, Vancouver needs a billionaire owner to step up and buy the franchise. The Kansas City Royals were sold for $1 billion in 2019, while the New York Mets were purchased for $2.4 billion in November.

The second question is where the team would play. Ideally, Vancouver would have a brand new stadium with a retractable roof located near the water with a view of the North Shore mountains — but someone needs to pay for that.

There would be no shortage of skeptics, but BC Place was originally designed with baseball in mind.

Arizona Diamondbacks executives visited Vancouver on two occasions in recent years, mostly for contingency planning in the event that their wonky roof at Chase Field necessitated temporary relocation.

“They weren’t daunted by any changes required to upgrade the stadium to a baseball park as I thought someone might be,” said Bart Given, a former Blue Jays executive who is now the managing director of Torque Strategies in Vancouver, in an interview with Daily Hive last year.

“Whether it’s relocation or expansion, Vancouver is on the radar,” Given added.

So, how ’bout it? Vancouver Athletics does have a nice ring to it…

Rob WilliamsRob Williams

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