Salt Lake City Stadium, Daybreak Searches for 'Temporary Home' for Team A

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SALT LAKE CITY — Major League Baseball could be coming to Utah much earlier than anyone expected.

Oakland Athletics executives are scheduled to visit Smith Ballpark this week as a potential temporary home before the team's new Las Vegas stadium is ready. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported ThursdayQuoting “someone with knowledge of the trip.”

City officials confirmed that there is interest in making Smith Ballpark a “temporary home” for the team, but it may not be the only Utah stadium being considered.

Meanwhile, Larry H. Miller CEO Steve Starks issued a statement Friday acknowledging that the company hosted team executives Thursday “and demonstrated that we can meet their needs on the field” with the construction of the new stadium in Downtown South Jordan. .

The A's announced last year that they would move to Las Vegas, but Nevada's new stadium is not expected to be completed until 2028 and its lease in Oakland expires at the end of this season.

Andrew Wittenberg, a spokesman for Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, declined to provide details but confirmed to KSL.com on Friday that the city is interested in allowing the A's to play at Smith's Ballpark while the team is between homes.

“Mayor Mendenhall has always said Salt Lake City is a big league city and believes Smith's Ballpark would be a great temporary home for the A's. Even for a short time, MLB can be a catalyst for the neighborhood,” he said in a statement. .

Wittenberg added that the city cannot comment on “any ongoing conversations about Major League Baseball at this time,” but that the city “very much looks forward to the day when Major League Baseball is played in Salt Lake City.”

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Miller, on the other hand, has been in “regular contact” with the A’s at Daybreak Stadium as well, according to Starks. Under that scenario, the A's would play at Daybreak Stadium, while the Salt Lake Bees, which the company owns, would remain at Smith's Ballpark through 2027.

“This new stadium will support the needs of the A's and have been the focus of their attention. It will include stunning views of the ballpark and the Wasatch Mountains, is easily accessible from the Mountain View Corridor and TRAX, and is located in the fastest growing part of Salt Lake County,” Starks said. “Our unique solution will ensure Two Stadiums Baseball remains in the Salt Lake market as the Salt Lake Bees return to Smiths Ballpark for additional seasons.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal also reported that the A's toured Sutter Health Park in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday. Las Vegas Ballpark, home of the Las Vegas Aviators, their Triple-A affiliate, is under consideration, as are Oracle Park in San Francisco and Greater Nevada Stadium in Reno, Nevada, the outlet noted.

It is up to A to choose their temporary home and there is no clear timeline for when a decision will be made.

However, both of Utah's options fit the A's schedule.

Just like the A's with Oakland, Salt Lake City's lease with Larry H. Miller expires this year. The team's final home game is scheduled for September 22 before moving to Daybreak. If the A's choose either Smith's Ballpark or Daybreak Stadium, they will not have to share the field with another team.

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Meanwhile, Wittenberg said the additional baseball won't change the long-term future of Salt Lake City's Ballpark neighborhood. Officials with the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency are leading efforts on what's next for Smith Ballpark; However, they acknowledge that any new uses for the stadium could still be an “out” even if a final plan for the site has already been chosen.

The stadium could still be used for festivals and events until future plans are finalized, Corinne Piazza, the agency's project manager, said at a Ballpark Community Board meeting earlier this month.

“Mayor Mendenhall takes seriously her commitment to the residents of the Ballpark neighborhood, and is eager to move forward with a long-term strategy that prioritizes the year-round activation of this facility,” Wittenberg said.

It doesn't change MLB's long-term plans either.

Miller is leading the effort to bring MLB to Salt Lake City on a permanent basis. Their plan, backed by a coalition of prominent Utah leaders and residents, calls for a new stadium for a potential expansion team that would be located within Salt Lake City's upcoming energy district on the west side.

MLB is expected to begin exploring expansion on a larger scale this year.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general and foreign news, history and sports for KSL.com.

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