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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Notes: Shohei Ohtani, gambling, Camden lease

Shohei Ohtani’s deferrals, betting lines moving because of MLB employees, and chaos in Baltimore.

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Shohei Ohtani is a Dodger for the next 10 years, but he’s going to be paid by them for much longer than that. The $700 million contract—the largest in not just MLB’s history, but in North American pro sports history—that the two parties agreed to is going to be “mostly” deferred, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, which will significantly decrease the luxury tax hit his contract will have on the Dodgers each season. Teams are allowed to use deferrals like this, to create a “discount” on the luxury tax hit, and the Dodgers are apparently utilizing that idea to its fullest. Ohtani will still get paid a significant amount of cash each year, but he’ll also be collecting paychecks from the Dodgers well after he’s retired. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

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You don’t have to buy what Jerry Reinsdorf is selling

Jerry Reinsdorf loves to lie so much that he’s bragged about it in print, and yet!

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One bit of news from this year’s MLB winter meetings that flew under the radar amid all the Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto rumors only sort of involved the winter meetings. White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf reportedly met with the mayor of Nashville — the host city for the meetings — about… something. The what is undisclosed, but it also doesn’t matter, because the only thing happening here is that Reinsdorf is trying to drum up concern back in Chicago that something that does matter could have been discussed.

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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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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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The Rays are staying in St. Petersburg, for 600 million reasons

A stadium in St. Petersburg is unsustainable for the Rays, unless someone writes a check for $600 million, anyway.

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The whole saga of the Tampa Bay Rays has been something, hasn’t it? It feels like they’ve been trying to move out of the area they call home — or at least out of St. Petersburg, where they actually play their games — since they got there. To be fair, there are loads of problems with their current arrangement. Tropicana Field, as I’ve said many times in the past, reminds me of a rec center where I used to play indoor softball in the winter — that’s great for the rec center, less so for the Major League Baseball team that has to play in that setting. And St. Pete is considerably smaller than Tampa, with just under 260,000 residents compared to Tampa’s nearly 400,000.

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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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John Fisher has another bridge to sell you

The A’s owner must be so happy to have a local newspaper that will just let him say whatever unchallenged.

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Last month, due to the A’s moving to Las Vegas, I was introduced to the “journalism” of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It’s the largest newspaper in Nevada, and used to actually put out the kind of work you’d expect from a newspaper. Ownership changed hands in 2015, though, with the paper ending up in the hands of Sheldon Adelson, who has been referred to as a “kingmaker” for his sizable financial support of right-wing political candidates. Not like the newspaper landscape in America is run by a bunch of left-leaning folks or anything that would make Adelson an exception, but he’s not who you want running a paper even among the kind of people who tend to do that sort of thing.

Anyway, from people who are more knowledgeable about where the paper has been and is, I’ve learned that its mission statement these days is basically to let rich people do what they want without questioning them. Which is why any figure of any kind of authority who sides with the wealthy won’t be questioned even a little bit about, say, whether the A’s are going to spend all of the public money they’ve been approved to spend by Nevada or not, or how lawyer who is partner at a firm that puts together cases for clients looking for stadium financing isn’t exactly an unbiased expert source for your story on whether the A’s are going to be good for Vegas or not. And why A’s owner John Fisher got a chance to say whatever he wanted unchallenged in an interview with the Review-Journal’s Mick Akers, who was also responsible for the aforementioned pieces.

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Notes: John Angelos interview, stadium grifting

John Angelos speaking to the media is always a treat, because he’s oblivious, and some notes on things I’ve been up to, as well.

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John Angelos doesn’t do so well with the media. He lacks the savvy needed to actually convince people of his schemes, but he thinks he’s got things under control, so he feels like he’s in a position to speak relatively freely on things like the Orioles and their spending or not spending, how the ballpark lease situation with Baltimore and the state of Maryland is going, and so on. But he always just comes off looking delusional and overconfident, and like he isn’t aware that he’s giving away the game. His recent interview at the New York Times with Tyler Kepner is a wonderful example.

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