SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Mayor Kevin Johnson announced on Monday the formation of an exploratory committee to look at the viability at bringing a major league baseball team to the River City.
The Think Big organization originally formed to build a new sports and entertainment complex will take the next 10 to 12 weeks to look into the possibility of professional baseball in Sacramento.
The mayor began his pitch Monday morning, throwing out reasons Sacramento would be attractive to the A’s, including available land, the $255 million from privatized parking, and other legwork completed during the failed railyards arena project.
“Sacramento’s a baseball town,” Johnson said. “We have a strong market here in Sacramento. We have infrastructure in place, we’ve had entitlements and approvals. We are a lot further down the road than other places are.”
The mayor also singled out the success of the River Cats, Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate, as proof the Sacramento A’s would fill seats.
“You’ve got a baseball team in Triple-A that in 11 or 12 years has led (the league in) attendance,” he said.
The mayor’s biggest catch may be Kevin McClatchy. The Sacramento native and former Pittsburgh Pirates owner will be a lead advisor in Think Big’s efforts to attract a major league baseball team.
“You’re talking about a man who’s owned a team, built a stadium, and revitalized a downtown community in Pittsburgh,” he said.
But the mayor knows he’ll need a grand slam, with the A’s ownership remaining focused on building a new stadium in Oakland or San Jose. The San Francisco Giants own the territorial rights to San Jose and are opposed to the A’s moving there. Oakland faces a major hurdle in getting a new baseball stadium built in the city. The A’s sharing the aging coliseum with the Raiders.
“People may say that this is a long shot,” he said. “It very well may be, but we are committed in Sacramento that we are in control of our own destiny.”