If the Oakland Athletics move to Las Vegas, the site for a baseball stadium has been narrowed to one location — where the Tropicana now stands.
A longtime fixture at the southeastern end of Las Vegas Strip, the Tropicana is on a 35-acre site that would be used for the proposed $1 billion domed Major League Baseball stadium.
The Tropicana’s new owner, Bally’s Corp. of Rhode Island, has indicated it wants to rebrand or demolish the Rat Pack-era resort near Harry Reid International Airport.
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Will the A’s Leave Oakland?
Since receiving approval from Major League Baseball in 2021 to explore stadium sites in the Las Vegas Valley, the A’s have considered a handful of locations throughout the area. Over time, the choices supposedly were reduced to two, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
One of these two sites, the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on the north end of the Strip at Sahara Avenue, appears to be off the table. That leaves only the Tropicana site at the opposite end of the resort corridor as the remaining choice, the newspaper reported.
The A’s are considering staying in the Bay Area if a new stadium can be built at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal, but, with the clock ticking and a new mayor in office, city officials have not reached a consensus on the waterfront project.
NBA Could Put Team in Southern Nevada
The addition of the A’s in Southern Nevada would add one more major franchise to the area’s pro sports offerings. The NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights already are established there.
In addition to having a big league baseball franchise, Las Vegas also might ultimately land an NBA team.
At a gaming conference in October at the Venetian resort on the Strip, casino owner Derek Stevens said it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” the NBA will place a franchise in the city.
Technically, most of the Strip and its major casinos, such as the Tropicana, are in Clark County outside Las Vegas city limits. However, the Strip and downtown usually are referred to in general as “Las Vegas.” Stevens owns three hotel-casinos, including Circa Resort, on downtown’s Fremont Street.
A’s Once Opened Regular Season In Las Vegas
If the A’s move to Southern Nevada, it would not be the first time the team has played regular season games in Las Vegas.
In 1996, Oakland opened with six “home” games at Cashman Field just north of downtown. Renovations at the Oakland Coliseum had not been completed in time for the A’s to open the season at their normal home stadium.
Currently, the team’s Triple-A farm club, the Las Vegas Aviators, plays home games in a minor league ballpark about 20 minutes west of downtown near Red Rock Casino Resort. That stadium is too small to host a big league team.
Tropicana Soaked in Mob Lore
The Tropicana, which first opened in 1957, has a long history of being connected to the Mob. That connection no longer exists.
Decades ago, however, the Tropicana came under federal scrutiny when authorities discovered untaxed casino revenue was being sent illegally from the resort to Kansas City’s Civella crime family.
Also, bookmaker Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a Chicago Outfit associate, lived for a time at the Tropicana, according to Nicholas Pileggi’s book “Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas.” Rosenthal’s wife, Geri, had been a dancer at the Tropicana.
In the 1995 movie “Casino,” Robert De Niro and Sharon Store portray characters based on Frank and Geri Rosenthal. Pileggi and director Martin Scorsese co-wrote the script.
During a boom in megaresort construction beginning with the 1989 opening of the Mirage on the Strip, several older casinos once associated with organized crime, including the Desert Inn, Sands, Stardust, Dunes and Hacienda, have been demolished and replaced with larger resorts.
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