Oakland isn’t going to just let the A’s extend their lease

Watch as the A’s try to extract something they need from a city they’ve been openly and unfairly criticizing for months and months.

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If you’ve been following along with the Athletics’ search for a stadium to play baseball in during the years where the (supposed, hypothetical) Las Vegas stadium is being built, then you already know that it is not going well. As I wrote for Baseball Prospectus earlier this month, John Fisher’s A’s no longer have a lease with the city of Oakland after the 2024 season, and then, playing outside the Bay Area until 2028, when the (supposed, hypothetical) Vegas stadium is finished and ready for baseball will cost them their regional television contract, which pays them $67 million per year.

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Notes: The A’s don’t seem more Vegas-bound yet, Diamond’s future

The A’s aren’t clarifying how this relocation is going to work over time. Instead, it’s only being further muddled.

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On November 30, Baseball Prospectus published a piece of mine titled “The A’s Move to Vegas is Approved, Not Assured.” The idea being that MLB had given permission for the Athletics to vacate Oakland and head to Las Vegas, but beyond that, all that was in place was Vegas allowing it to happen, too. There were a number of ways this relocation could fall apart, and the two-plus months since this piece ran have not reduced that number, either.

On top of that, 2024 kicked off with a look at how the A’s still haven’t provided the stadium renderings that they had promised in early December, and the excuses they used for the delay, both directly and indirectly, no longer exist. So what gives?

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Notes: A’s stadium renderings, crawl of free agency

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When last I checked in on the A’s and the Las Vegas stadium discussions, it was for a piece at Baseball Prospectus titled, “The A’s Move to Vegas is Approved, Not Assured.” It was basically a laundry list of all the things that could still, very realistically, go wrong with the A’s move out of Oakland and into Las Vegas, and concluded with this:

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MLB owners meetings begin Tuesday, Oakland mayor requests ‘no’ vote on A’s relocation

The Las Vegas A’s story will complete one more chapter this week, one way or the other.

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The annual MLB owners meetings begin in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday, November 13, and will run for three days. Assuming no gastrointestinal virus rips through them like happened with the canceled GM meetings, anyway. Among the many points under discussion is the Oakland Athletics, and whether they should become the Las Vegas A’s, or whatever it is they’d change their name to if forced.

The city of Oakland hasn’t fully given up on the A’s yet, with the current mayor, Sheng Thao, submitting a letter to 15 of MLB’s owners, asking them to vote no on the relocation of the club. Not all 15 would need to be convinced in order to halt the relocation, either: this kind of move requires 23 of the 30 owners to vote yes. If it does get the required number of votes, you can be sure a revote would be cast to make it seem as if it’s a unanimous decision, but before that false front is presented to the public, earning those 23 yays is the goal.

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Schools Over Stadium loses lawsuit over petition, but plans to start over

Schools Over Stadium has been slowed down, but they aren’t giving up on cutting off the A’s stadium funding in Las Vegas.

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Let’s rewind to September for a moment. The A’s and the state of Nevada pushed ahead with plans for a publicly financed stadium, and the state’s educators pushed back with the filing of a petition meant to cut off said public finances. The plan was to get the petition its required signatures and put it on the ballot in 2024, so that the citizens of Nevada could decide if they wanted their tax dollars to go towards yet another new stadium, or if those funds should instead be put toward anything else. Like, say, the educational system that desperately needed them.

I wrote about that issue at Baseball Prospectus (no subscription required) after speaking with the Nevada State Educators Association:

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Notes: Marlins, A’s stadium board, Brewers’ subsidies

The Marlins want to go cheaper (again), the A’s Las Vegas journey takes its next step, and the Brewers got hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate their stadium.

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Kim Ng left the Marlins last week, and because it happened early on a Monday morning and the team was the first to send out the news, there was little in the way of detail. We know now, though, that the Marlins attempted to hire someone to oversee their general manager after she managed to bring the Marlins record way up and help them to their first full-season postseason slot since the 2003 World Series championship campaign. (You can count 2020, by all means, but realize that if the season had been the length it was supposed to be, that team probably wasn’t playing ball in October.)

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Notes: Trevor May’s retirement speech, MLBPA and the antitrust exemption

Trevor May has parting words for his old boss, and the MLBPA formally supports a lawsuit challenging MLB’s antitrust exemption

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MLB relief pitcher Trevor May retired earlier this week, and he did not go out quietly. The A’s pitcher took to Twitch to deliver his retirement speech, and it was a pointed one. Something tells me this guy doesn’t like A’s owner John Fisher very much (transcription courtesy Neil deMause at Field of Schemes):

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Notes: Orioles’ new lease, A’s stadium supporters sue, Brewers, Royals updates

Just some Friday notes on the billions, plural, in public funding for a few MLB teams that are currently being discussed or handed out.

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The Orioles have a new 30-year lease with the city of Baltimore to keep playing in Camden Yards. It should have been a pretty open-shut acceptance months and months ago, since the Orioles receive a $600 million public subsidy that’s already been set aside for them by signing said lease, all to be put toward stadium renovations, but team owner John Angelos has been a nuisance for at least that long, holding up a deal in attempts to acquire land, for free, that wasn’t available. All so the Orioles could build a Battery-esque space around Camden that they could profit from, just like the Braves.

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Notes: MiLB lawsuit, Rob Manfred’s lies, Nevada educators

Another win for the latest suit against MLB, Manfred calls someone else a liar, and more on Schools Over Stadiums.

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Earlier in September, a judge in New York state’s highest civil court declared that the lawsuits of the Tri-City Valley Cats and the Norwich Sea Unicorns, both former Minor League Baseball affiliate clubs, can proceed to trial in November. This was a significant victory for them, as Evan Drellich detailed at The Athletic, as Major League Baseball wanted to have the suits dismissed: not settled, but just gone.

Drellich, later in the month, tweeted out part of the transcript from the virtual meeting between the two sides, where the judge was “not having any of” MLB’s pleas for a delay in the trial — if the trial had to happen, MLB wanted to keep pushing it off as long as possible. From the sounds of it, though, the judge believes this should all proceed, which is good news for a few reasons. Most promising of which is that, the longer MLB’s antitrust exemption stays in the spotlight and looks like it does more harm than good, the better.

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Oakland reportedly a ‘top two expansion site’ once A’s leave

Oakland will be an attractive expansion city, sure, but what does that mean exactly, and who does this information actually benefit?

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According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Oakland might not be without a baseball team for long after the A’s eventually vacate for Las Vegas. It’s just a little note in a longer article, so, here it is in full:

Although the Oakland A’s will be moving to Las Vegas, the city may not be without a team very long.

High-ranking executives say that if Oakland officials and an ownership group secure a site to build a new ballpark, they will join Nashville, Tennessee, as the top two expansion sites in the next five years.

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