Athletics president Dave Kaval in an interview Tuesday called a prospective visit to Portland, Ore. "wild speculation," despite officials trying to bring an MLB team to the city said they're still planning to meet with team representatives.
Kaval, speaking to A's TV color commentator Dallas Braden on the "Starting 9" podcast in an episode released Tuesday, said the organization's "only planned trip" was to Las Vegas.
"There's no trip planned to Portland," Kaval told Braden. "So I don't know where that story came from or what happened, but that is completely inaccurate. I've said that. We've said that on background to many people in the press. I've even told people in the Las Vegas media about this. So I don't know how that happened, or where that came from, but it's just not a thing."
"They have a local group there and things like that, but I mean, that's just wild speculation," Kaval added. "We've been working very closely with the league on locations in which we are looking, and right now that is Las Vegas. I'm in Las Vegas right now. But remember: We are still pursuing Oakland, and we're working very hard on that."
An A's spokesperson told the San Francisco Chronicle that the team is focused on Oakland and exploring Las Vegas, despite multiple cities reaching out.
The Oregonian's John Canzano initially reported Monday, citing an MLB source, that Kaval, owner John Fisher, vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane and executive Sandy Dean were "planning to come to Oregon."
Portland Diamond Project founder Craig Creek and managing partner Mike Barrett then told the paper, on the record, that the organization has "engaged in talks with the Athletics, and plans for a visit by team officials are underway."
Canzano tweeted Tuesday after Kaval's podcast appearance that the A's president was "talking out [of] both sides of his mouth," re-sharing the Portland Diamond Project's statement.
The Oakland City Council will vote July 20 on the A's stadium proposal, a $12 billion mixed-use development at Howard Terminal. The franchise confirmed two weeks ago it had begun to explore relocation with MLB's approval, and Kaval has said it's "Howard Terminal or bust" for the A's to remain in Oakland. Both the league and the A's have claimed that the Oakland Coliseum is "not a viable option for the future vision of baseball," and a spokesperson representing Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said last month that "the only viable path to keeping the A's rooted in Oakland is a ballpark on the waterfront."
Kaval and team officials are visiting Las Vegas this week. The A's president tweeted a video of himself watching the Vegas Golden Knights' Stanley Cup playoff game with the Minnesota Wild, drawing harsh criticism from A's fans on Twitter.
Kaval told Braden that his tweets are "communicating not only to our fans but I'm also communicating to the elected leaders in Oakland."