It took us all the way past midnight, but the Oakland Athletics made it out of June 5 alive. Let me repeat that, emphasizing a particular word: the OAKLAND Athletics made it out alive.
In the final hours of the Nevada legislative session, the prospects for a bill aiming to bring the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas through public financing suffered a setback, and we can't be happier about it.
By we I mean fans of the Oakland A's, fans of sports in general and baseball in particular, residents of Oakland and the Bay Area, and also inhabitants of Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada. Yes. That "we" includes pretty much everyone not named Joe Lombardo, John J. Fisher, or Dave Kaval.
In summary, Nevada lawmakers decided not to move forward with the A's stadium bill, which would have provided up to $380 million for the construction of such a new tiny monstrosity smacked right into the Las Vegas Strip.
However, there is still a glimmer of hope for the Trifecta of Death as Governor Joe Lombardo's obvious support for the relocation and the building of the stadium may pave the way for a reconsideration of a public funding package for the proposed $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark project on the Las Vegas Strip. This would require the governor to call a special legislative session, for which he determines the agenda.
The worst possible news arrived just a few minutes ago at around 1 a.m. PT via Tabitha Mueller of the Nevada Independent, who shared an email statement made by Gov. Lombardo in which he said "a special season in the morning" is expected to be called. Ugh.
Even if public financing terms were approved in a special session, it would not guarantee the A's relocation to Las Vegas from Oakland. The consent of Major League Baseball owners is still required (commissioner Rob Mandred expects them to vote on the issue on June 13, precisely the day of the fan-organized Reverse Boycott game at the Oakland Coliseum) along with the A's ability to secure the necessary funding for the remaining $1.5 billion development.
According to the proposed legislation SB509, championed by Lombardo's office, public financing would be capped at $380 million. This includes up to $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state, a $25 million credit from Clark County designated for infrastructure costs, and an estimated $120 million to be covered by bonds issued by Clark County.
Critics, including sports economists, have voiced concerns over the package, citing research indicating that publicly funded stadiums do not provide sufficient return on investment for taxpayers. Proponents argue that Las Vegas is an exception due to its tourism-driven economy.
Monday's outcome confirmed the concerns as the bill got canceled, in millenial jargon.
That means the Oakland A's are, as of Tuesday's wee hours and until Lombardo inevitably calls for the Lombi Special later on June 6, still an Oakland-rooted-and-based franchise.
Our friends from The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (s/o Alex Espinoza) found an interesting development related to a similar situation happening in Nevada and linked to another Oakland franchise, the NFL's Oakland Raiders, following the bill's failure to advance on Monday.
According to their research, the Nevada state legislature only meets in "120-day windows every two years," though the state "called an off-year special session in 2016 to approve the Allegiant Stadium deal for the Raiders." No bueno, amigos.
That said, let me circle back to where everything started: it took us all the way past midnight, but the Oakland Athletics made it out of June 5 (and already well into June 6) alive.
Now, we wait. And while we do, you can still do wonders by contributing to the Oakland 68s cause or reading other articles published here at White Cleat Beat as we couldn't have picked a better, historic day, to relaunch the site on a beautiful June 5.