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Sacramento Eyes Athletics' Vote For New Oakland Stadium

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Everything is not 'A-OK' in the city of Oakland, and Sacramento business leaders are watching closely.

The owners of baseball's Athletics are threatening to move the team if they don't get a favorable new stadium vote from the Oakland city council Tuesday.

Now, Sacramento business leaders are eyeing an opportunity to bring the A's here.

Michelle Willard with the Greater Sacramento Economic Council says if the city of Oakland can't reach an agreement on a new A's stadium deal, the business group will ask the Major League Baseball's commissioner to consider Sacramento.

"So, it's a grand slam for them to consider our market," Willard said. "We hope that the A's obviously stay in Oakland, but if they don't, you can believe that Sacramento will be going after the Oakland A's."

The possible 2021 campaign for the Athletics comes three decades after an attempt to lure a Major League Baseball franchise in 1987. Sacramento executed a sensational public relations stunt in an effort to grab Major League Baseball's attention. Around 300 buses caravaned down Interstate 80 carrying 20,000 Sacramentans to the Oakland Coliseum in an effort to show the MLB the capital city could be a major league city.

ESPN's John Malos reported on the spectacle for the sports network that day.

"I remember it vividly because I was in a private car with an ESPN photographer," Malos said. "Major League Baseball at that time didn't pay attention. ESPN did because they called me—they wanted the story."

The caravan was choreographed by then-Kings owner Gregg Lukenbill, who also spent millions of dollars building the foundation for a ballpark right next to Arco Arena he hoped would attract a major league team.

All this time later, the foundation is still there. The ballpark was never built.

We asked Malos if there's a lesson to be learned from the last Sacramento effort for a major league team.

"Yes," Malos said. "The private and public sector have to work together."

Decades later, there's now another pitch from the capital city. Get ready for Sacramento to try and score at home again.

The city of Oakland's stadium vote is set for Tuesday. The A's current lease ends in 2024. Las Vegas appears to be the leading candidate right now if the A's do move.

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