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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The A’s relocation and MLB’s antitrust exemption don’t fit together

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Remember the summer of 2022, when MLB had to turn its attention away from the lockout and the then-finalized collective bargaining, and toward Congress, which was questioning the league about its antitrust exemption? Remember, too, that one of commissioner Rob Manfred’s defenses of the antitrust exemption — which was under scrutiny in no small part due to the mistreatment and exploitation of minor-league players — was that its central purpose was to keep teams from relocating, taking baseball away from the communities that had it in the process?

The receipts are out there, so let’s start going through them. Here’s Manfred speaking with Bill Shaikin at The Los Angeles Times, from July 15:

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A’s threat to move a reminder MLB expansion is more conceptual than anything

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Last Friday, my original plan was to write about a bit of news that had nearly gotten away from me. On April 27, the Associated Press reported that expansion fees for potential brand new Major League Baseball clubs could rise to the “$2.2 billion range.” That figure was arrived at because of a recent discussion commissioner Rob Manfred had with Sportico, where he shared that the average franchise value in MLB these days is $2.2 billion.

The rest of the information in the piece isn’t new, which is part of why I was fine pushing it off when something else came up. And why would there be new info? There hasn’t been a round of expansion since the 1998 season, and while it occasionally comes up in conversation as a possibility, it tends to be casual, or brought up in order to make a point elsewhere.

I had initially planned on reminding everyone about that last point mostly as a hypothetical, since the last time I discussed expansion in detail was back in the summer of 2017, while I was still with SB Nation. That piece, titled, “Rob Manfred won’t expand MLB while it needs new cities as stadium leverage,” kind of speaks for itself right there, but let’s dive in, anyway, since that reasoning has become all the more relevant thanks to some news from this week.

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