OAKLAND – With the Oakland Athletics ownership group continuing its pursuit of a new stadium in Las Vegas, two members of Congress from the East Bay have proposed a measure targeting Major League Baseball.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) announced what they have dubbed the "Moneyball Act," named after the 2003 bestseller that documented the A's approach and success of that era.
The measure would require the owners of the A's or any other professional baseball team that relocates more than 25 miles away to compensate its former community or Major League Baseball would lose its antitrust exemption.
"This legislation will ensure that no city and community is left behind when billionaires decide that lining their own pockets is more important than the community that supports them," Lee said in a statement Tuesday.
"If the A's ownership group decides to leave, Oakland should not be left empty handed," the representative and candidate for U.S. Senate went on to say.
DeSaulnier said, "I am proud to introduce this bill with Congresswoman Lee on behalf of the East Bay and communities across the country that stand to lose out as a result of corporate greed in sports."
Oakland councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who also serves as Chair of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, applauded the proposal.
"We have worked diligently to bring about a thriving future, including sports, entertainment, job opportunities, and more. This includes providing substantial opportunities for the A's," Kaplan said in a statement. "Communities, taxpayers, workers, and fans all deserve to be treated with respect."
The measure comes amid a crucial time in the A's ongoing saga to find a new home to replace the aging Coliseum, their home ballpark since moving to Oakland in 1968. On Tuesday, legislators in Nevada were in the midst of a special session debating proposals that would partially fund a stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.
Meanwhile, fans in Oakland who want the team to stay. Organizers called on fans to fill the stadium for Tuesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays and to urge team owner John Fisher to sell the franchise.
Lee, who is currently in Washington, DC, thanked fans supporting the reverse boycott in a video posted Tuesday afternoon.
"I wish I could be there but I know the East Bay will be loud and proud tonight showing support for our Oakland A's," Lee said. "The A's have called Oakland home for half a century. From Vida Blue to Rickey Henderson, several generations of A's fans have supported them through the ups and downs. The A's are Oakland."
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