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Las Vegas still on Major League Baseball’s radar in 2020

The Oakland A’s are coming to Las Vegas in 2020.

But only for two days.

The A’s will play the Cleveland Indians on Feb. 29 and March 1 at Las Vegas Ballpark, part of Big League Weekends.

That’s a far cry from the team moving here permanently, per a rumor during the MLB playoffs that, for a couple of news cycles anyway, trumped the opening of the Aviators’ new $150 million ballpark and native son Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $300 million free-agent signing with the Philadelphia Phillies as the biggest local baseball story of 2019.

“In a recent meeting with the Mayor of Oakland, I did mention Las Vegas in the context of pointing out that the A’s might have to relocate if a new stadium can’t be built in Oakland,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Review-Journal on Oct. 8. “There is, however, no plan to move to Las Vegas.”

At least not for now.

But Aviators president Don Logan said further discussion of that possibility will be something to keep an eye on in 2020 and beyond as Las Vegas powers up its major league magnet.

“There’s some validity to it,” Logan said during this month’s Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego. “The success that the (NHL’s) Knights have had and are having, the way the (NFL’s) Raiders are going, we’re a big-league town now. What major leagues aren’t here? — Major League Baseball and the NBA.

“There’s people who look at it and say there’s an opportunity here. (The discussion) is out there.”

In addition to the A’s, Las Vegas and Henderson have been mentioned as possible relocation sites for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who also are trying to get a new ballpark built in Phoenix.

“Just the ability to put it all together, the cooperation you’ve got to have with Major League Baseball — is it going to be a relocation or are you going to expand?” Logan said of the daunting multistep process of bringing a MLB team to town. “And now you’ve got what’s going on between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, trying to wipe out (franchises).

“A lot of things have to get worked out before you can even have a serious conversation about bringing a major league club here.”

In the meantime, Logan said the Aviators will continue working with the the A’s, the Chicago Cubs and other MLB partners to grow Big League Weekend or, in the case of 2020, weekends.

In addition to the A’s vs. Indians, the Cubs will meet the Cincinnati Reds on March 7 and 8 as preseason major league baseball returns to town after taking a one-year hiatus while Las Vegas Ballpark was completed.

“One of the things we talked about (at the winter meetings) was midweek games or maybe a Thursday-Friday — try to do a couple of (MLB) games every week during March,” Logan said. “But March is tough because the town gets jammed up. You’ve got the NASCAR race, the basketball conference tournaments and (betting on) the first round of the NCAA Tournament — those are huge weekends in Las Vegas. You just can’t get rooms.

“But I’d say at least having a couple of weekends like this coming year — that’s one thing we’re definitely going to try to continue to do.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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