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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Vegas Mayor Says MLB By 2008

Oscar Goodman, who figures his showgirls at the GMs meeting should have done the trick, now thinks he can get a major league team in Las Vegas by 2008. Don Logan of the 51's thinks the town shouldn't have such grand sights, and should build a minor league park of 10,000 seats that can later be expanded to a major league park seating 40,000. But the 65-year-old Goodman disagrees, saying "I'm an old man" with big plans and little time left. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
The franchises most likely to relocate to Las Vegas are the Florida Marlins, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. All three teams are searching for a new stadium and could be warming up to the idea of a home in the desert.
  • Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria sent three of his top aides here to meet with Goodman on Dec. 8. If it was a negotiating ploy, it backfired, because Florida state lawmakers reacted angrily. The Marlins are working on a new stadium deal in the Miami area, but if it falls apart, Loria is reportedly interested in Las Vegas.
  • Los Angeles developer Lewis Wolff, vice president of venue development for the Athletics, plans to announce within three months whether he will exercise an option to buy the team. If Wolff goes ahead with the purchase and doesn't get a new stadium, he is expected to attempt to move the team out of Oakland.
  • The Devil Rays have not publicly expressed interest in Las Vegas, but fans in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., area have shown little interest in the team, making for an unstable situation. The Devil Rays averaged only 16,139 fans per game at Tropicana Field in 2004, down from 30,942 for their first season in 1998.
Despite long-term lease agreements those teams have with their current stadiums, Goodman said a team will be on the move by 2008. "Everything I hear would suggest that," he said.

One baseball source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Devil Rays are the odds-on favorites to land in Las Vegas.

The Devil Rays would certainly make some sense. Going from the AL East, where they have to compete with the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox all the time, to the AL West, the club would be in a division easier for them to compete in, though I have a feeling they would still be awful, no matter what division you put them in. Okay, maybe the AL Central.

Didn't I read somewhere that there is an ironclad 30-year lease binding the Devil Rays to Tropicana Field. Of course, no lease is impossible to get out of I suppose...
I don't know how they could keep a lease paid in full if they only have 14k average attendance in that bitty box of Tropicana. Well, stranger things have happened.

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