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LONDON — Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said there was a huge turnout Oakland Athletics fans don’t change a “decade of inaction” as he defended past comments about a “reverse boycott” held in protest of the team’s proposed move to Las Vegas.
Manfred said he was taken out of context when he sarcastically praised the 27,759 fans for being “nearly the average Major League Baseball crowd” for a year. 2-1 win Over the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13 at the Coliseum.
Speaking Friday at a news conference before the weekend series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs in London, Manfred said the A’s have not applied for relocation and there is no deadline for when the clubs want to vote.
“My comment about Auckland is that I feel sorry for the fans, and that it was my principled and – my preference that we find a solution in Auckland,” Manfred said when asked if he regretted his remarks. “The comment I made about the fans on a particular night is taken out of the context of those two larger remarks: I feel sorry for the fans. We hate to move. We did everything we could do to keep the club in Auckland. Unfortunately, one night doesn’t change a decade of inaction.” “.
After the owners’ meeting on June 15, Manfred said of the A’s turnout: “I mean, it was great. It’s great to see this year about the average Major League Baseball crowd at the facility for one night. That’s great.”
MLB is set to begin a months-long approval process for the Athletics’ proposed move to Las Vegas. Last week, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo signed a law granting $380 million in public funding to a football stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.
The transportation committee will study the transportation proposal and make recommendations to Manfred and the eight-man executive board. The council formulates a recommendation to all clubs, which must agree to the transfer by at least three-quarters of the vote.
Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Atanasio will chair the transportation committee. Manfred said he has not appointed any additional members.
“I don’t have a fixed schedule,” said Manfred. “It depends on when the application was submitted and how long the committee feels it needs to examine the application.”
Auckland averages less than 10,000 fans per home game, the lowest among the 30 teams. The A’s have the worst record in the major leagues at 19-58.
The proposed $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof would be close to Allegiant Stadium, where the NFL’s Raiders moved in 2020, and T-Mobile Arena, where the NHL’s Golden Knights began as an expansion team in 2017.
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