Mayor Kevin Johnson and Think Big Sacramento want to explore bringing a Major League Baseball team to Sacramento along with a Major League Baseball stadium in the downtown railyards – and the future of the River Cats may hang in the balance.
The plan is the next phase for Think Big Sacramento’s efforts to come up with a new future for the downtown railyards after plans for a new arena were scuttled in May, Johnson said.
“There’s no harm in exploring all of our options,” Johnson told media at a press conference Monday.
If the idea is viable, Johnson said, the city would most likely court the Oakland A’s for a move to Sacramento – but, if they move in, MLB rules require the River Cats to move out of their West Sacramento home across the river at Raley Field.
Johnson said the idea is in the beginning stages and conversations with other key groups, including River Cats owners, the Major League Baseball organization and the city of West Sacramento, have not happened yet.
“We first have to get on Major League Baseball’s radar,” Johnson said. “This is our first foray into letting the A’s know we want them.”
Johnson said Sacramento has a lot to offer an MLB team including land, political will and a proven media market – however, Johnson didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing an MLB team to Raley Field instead of the downtown railyards
“The ideal place may very well be West Sacramento,” Johnson said. “We need to look at this from a regional standpoint. If they win, we win.”
Think Big Executive Director Kunal Merchant said Think Big Sacramento will spend 10-12 weeks vetting the idea, and Johnson said no public dollars would be spent on the process.
Melissa Corker is a staff reporter with The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @MelissaCorker.