Major League Baseball is experimenting this season with a pitch clock in an effort to pick up the pace of the game.
Maybe it’s time someone suggested that to the Oakland A’s, as they attempt to persuade the Nevada Legislature that it’s a good idea to enable a $500 million tax-deferment package as part of the team’s plan to depart the Bay Area and relocate to a proposed $1.5 billion stadium complex in Las Vegas.
Like, State Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager.
In a revealing Wednesday interview with The Nevada Independent, Yeager made it clear he’d prefer that the team offer specific details of its funding proposal soon or face the possibility of being shut out of the regular session of the legislature. And Yeager is no fan of lawmakers going into extra innings in a special session to accommodate the A’s.
Yeager’s language couldn’t have been clearer. “There hasn’t been a concrete plan that’s been presented to the legislature. And I read in the media too, and it seems like every story talks about it in a different way. So in my mind, until there’s some kind of concrete ask, there’s really not much to discuss.”
The team has been involved in what can politely be described as a juggling act as it has negotiated with Oakland public officials, while also touring potential stadium sites in Las Vegas. The optics have been sadly comical — coming from a losing franchise that ranks last in all of baseball in attendance.
Recent news has tilted heavily toward a move to the desert. The A’s signed what’s being called a “binding agreement” with Red Rock Resorts to purchase a 49-acre stadium site as part of the casino company’s 100-acre lot at Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive.
The news has Oakland fans, such as they are, protesting and calling for the team to be sold and remain in Oakland, where it plays in the worst facility in the Big Leagues. It’s easy to feel for the loyalists, even if, judging by attendance figures, they appear to be a dying breed.
Given all the political grandstanding that has taken place in recent months, it’s not difficult to smell some sort of choreographed ending for the Athletics. But Yeager is right: We’ll find out soon enough.
The A’s have the grinning support of Gov. Joe Lombardo and are backed by one of his biggest supporters in the Fertitta family, but with approximately a month left in the legislative session, it would be refreshing if the key players in the proposal shared the necessary details of the deal.
Yeager told the Indy, “If something was going to happen, it really should have been in place last week.”
Those who have been following the A’s soap opera are probably not surprised by this unnecessary drama. Certainly, veteran watchers of the Nevada Legislature are accustomed to similar theatrics.
That doesn’t mean the wheels of the political game — call it Americans’ other favorite pastime — can’t move quickly. But with a proposal that’s sure to receive pushback from inside and outside Carson City, the suspense seems more contrived than genuine.
A lot can happen in the final month of lawmaking in Nevada and it’s not all suitable for family viewing.
Sooner than later, the A’s will need to secure the approval of the legislature and the Clark County Commission for a half-billion bucks in tax deferment and construction assistance. The specific terms of the agreement should be made public.
No hidden-ball tricks with public funding.