The Oakland Athletics are on their way to Las Vegas
The GIST: Days after Oakland A’s fans organized an emotional and electric “reverse boycott,” it appears the team will almost certainly relocate to Las Vegas after the Nevada governor signed the stadium funding bill yesterday. There are still a few official steps to go, but the fallout has just begun.
The context: As discussed on yesterday’s episode of The GIST of It, the relocation news comes after a decades-long back-and-forth battle around the team’s future in Oakland. After several failed attempts to either build a new stadium in the city or develop their existing field, the A’s front office purchased land to develop a new venue in Vegas this past April.
- The last few years in Oakland were also plagued by blatant apathy from team owners. From allowing animals to infest the ballpark (yes, seriously) to trading away star players for next to nothing, owner John Fisher and Co. quite simply let things fall apart.
- Given that neglect, the A’s are averaging the lowest attendance in the majors, a fact that’s been cited as a reason to move to Vegas. Classic chicken or egg situation.
The response: With the move rounding third and heading for home, folks around the baseball world are speaking out in support of Oakland and their fanbase. Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper, who grew up in Vegas, said, “it’s just not right. They have so much history in Oakland,” and that he’d prefer Vegas have an expansion team rather than the A’s move.
- Meanwhile, MLB Commissioner Rob “we’re all trying to find the guy who did this” Manfred said yesterday, “I feel sorry for the fans…I do not like this outcome,” while also alleging Oakland never made a stadium offer, an assertion local officials reject.
What’s next: With the Nevada Assembly approving the $380M public funding bill to bankroll the new stadium on Wednesday, and Nevada’s governor inking it yesterday, the A’s are just waiting on final MLB approval to confirm their move to Sin City.
- That said, plenty of questions remain, including where they’ll play until the new park’s ready in 2028. But most importantly, what will happen to Oakland’s community of devout fans?