Hours before the 2023 All-Star Game started in Seattle, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred touched on several subjects including future hosts for the midseason game plus the drawn-out process of the Oakland Athletics relocating to Las Vegas.
Next year’s All-Star Game is scheduled for the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field in Arlington. The 2026 game will be at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park to mark the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. As for what team could host the 2025 All-Star Game, Manfred mentioned two in particular: the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs.
The 2021 All-Star Game was awarded to Atlanta’s Truist Park by Major League Baseball in 2019 but in April 2021 was moved to Denver’s Coors Field following objections to sweeping changes to Georgia’s voting laws. Chicago’s Wrigley Field last hosted the All-Stars in 1990.
“As time goes by, I’ve been more focused on keeping track of when a game was last there and trying to get back to places where we haven’t been in a really long time,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. “That’s a long time.”
A long time is what some would refer to the process in which the Oakland Athletics have finally decided on Las Vegas on its home and gotten financing — including public money — in place. Manfred said the A’s have started the process of applying to move to Vegas and MLB has established a relocation committee to evaluate the move, a group headed by Milwaukee Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio. Philadelphia Phillies Chief Executive Officer John Middleton and Kansas City Royals Chief Executive Officer John Sherman also are on the committee.
Manfred said the A’s have started submitting information but the application is not fully completed. A move would have to be approved by at least 75% of the 30 major league teams.
Nevada’s Legislature approved providing $380 million in public financing for a proposed $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark with a retractable roof on the Tropicana hotel site of the Las Vegas Strip. The team’s lease at the Coliseum expires after the 2024 season. It remains unclear where the team would play until a new ballpark opens in Las Vegas.
During the A’s presentation to the Legislature last month, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Hill floated the idea of the A’s playing in Reno while the Vegas ballpark is built. The Triple-A Reno Aces play at Greater Nevada Field, which seats 9,500 but Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve told the Las Vegas Review-Journal there have been no official talks between the two sides.
“Our relocation guidelines actually spell out pretty clearly what needs to be included in your application,” Manfred said. “One of the things that you have to include is what’s going to happen during the interim period. They have not made a submission on that topic yet.”
Since the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers for 1972, the only team to relocate has been the Montreal Expos, who became the Washington Nationals in 2005. There is still the issue of the Tampa Bay Rays’ future home. St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch in January announced a plan for a ballpark that would be built near Tropicana Field, the Rays’ home since the team started play in 1998.
The Rays have not committed to a site. Manfred said “I remain hopeful” of progress this year and once the Rays’ ballpark issue is resolved, then expansion could be on the agenda.
“I hope pretty shortly thereafter we would put together an expansion committee and start talking internally first about this issue associated with expansion,” he said. “You’re talking about diminishing the central revenue available to each of the 30 (teams), making it 32. You got to figure out the impact of that and then you’ve got to talk about what you would be looking for in terms of an expansion fee in order to offset that.”