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Kevin Johnson, ThinkBIG working to attract baseball

11:12 PM, Jul 8, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO - Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the ThinkBIG team had always casually mentioned the possibility of other sports, but until now, they had not officially said they were pursuing Major League Baseball.

Kunal Merchant, The Mayor's former chief of staff and current executive director of ThinkBIG, said Sacramento wants to be in the mix if a team were looking for a new home.

It's no secret the Oakland A's are unhappy in their current, antiquated facility; and the team has been looking at San Jose for a possible new home.

Whether or not they would look at Sacramento has yet to be determined.

The move is a clear signal that the Mayor's Plan A and Plan B are no longer an option.

Plan A would have been the Maloofs' kicking in about $75 million for a new arena, which they decided against in the last hour of the deal.

Plan B died last week when AEG told Sacramento the economics weren't right to build an arena with an anchor tenant; a sports team guaranteeing events at the facility.

ThinkBIG is still eyeing the railyards for the project, but this still focused north of the new Amtrak tracks.  There's about 240 acres owned by Inland American there, which either have to be developed or sold very soon.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Mayor Johnson has tapped Kevin McClatchy, former co-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, for insider advice.

McClatchy is chairman of the board of The McClatchy Co., the parent company of the Sacramento Bee.

One of the problems already on the horizon: the minor league Sacramento River Cats.

Current baseball rules would allow a major league team to kick a minor league team out of the market.

Mayor Kevin Johnson and ThinkBIG are holding a press conference Monday morning at 11 a.m. to discuss they're next move.

By Nick Monacelli, nick@news10.net

News10/KXTV

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