You Got a Nice Franchise Here, It’d Be A Shame If Something Happened To It

It’s the All-Star Break, which means it’s time to take MLB’s temperature on the state of the A’s. To which, Commissioner Rob Manfred was only happy to oblige in an interview with the Chronicle’s John Shea.

Shea: You said in July of 2018 right here that “there is not another market in the United States that has the upside potential that Oakland has, and I think we would regret leaving Oakland if we did that.” Is that still true? What changed?

Manfred: Look, we have 100 percent made good on that point of view. John Fisher and Major League Baseball have done everything humanly possible to get a stadium built in Oakland. At the point in time that you come to the conclusion it can’t get done, whether you like the market or not, you have to find someplace else to play because you need a facility. It’s that simple.

If you’re reading the post, you’re probably a masochist. At least you certainly haven’t tired of this subject yet. To his credit, The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami has the pulse of the Bay Area with his incredulity:

For my part, I have to harken back to my own 2017 tweet:

Other than Wolff being out of the picture, nothing fundamentally changed until this spring when Kaval also starting playing the “bad cop” role. Nowadays, A’s ownership and MLB are looking more like they’re trying to shake down Oakland. That’s the standard playbook, my friends. Play nice until you don’t get what you want, then turn heel and apply consistent pressure. Then hope someone breaks.

The flip side of this is Sin City’s (sorry, Southern Nevada’s) role. They know they’re being used this time around. They also know that it worked when the Raiders came looking, though that took some serious effort and a Verbal Kint-Keyzer Soze turn of events to make it happen. It doesn’t appear those circumstances will line up that way this time around. Still, MLB knows the wound is still fresh from the Raiders’ relocation so they’ll do what they do. Manfred’s been spoiling for this for years. Now he’s got it.

Back in Oakland, what are they dealing with? The April term sheet is bunk, to be replaced with another term sheet that City staff are negotiating with the A’s as we speak. It’s due no later than Friday, to be voted on a week from today. Do you expect this all to be resolved in with some overly produced reality TV flourish in a week?

I sure don’t. Deals, especially ones like this which are extremely complex, generally don’t have breakthrough moments unless one side or another capitulates. The two sides are far enough apart that capitulation is unlikely. If Howard Terminal is going to be done, it will require further rounds of negotiation and some serious compromise that will make both sides and related parties very unhappy.

I look at all of this as a NRAF a few hundred miles away from the action and say, Good Luck. The Coliseum is still sitting there, unloved.

P.S. – ABC7’s Larry Beil and Casey Pratt had an insightful Howard Terminal discussion with Phil Matter today. You should check it out.

20 thoughts on “You Got a Nice Franchise Here, It’d Be A Shame If Something Happened To It

  1. So at what point is Sin City NOT “being used” ML? If, in fact, that is the case? I find it utterly amazing that after all these years MLB is still keeping Oakland in the picture for the A’s; from Uptown, Mt. Davis destroying the Coli, Laney to the now disastrous HT fantasy. Why?! Especially when you had a sure fire solution 35 miles down the road in $J. Makes no sense whatsoever. Hope Vegas isn’t being “used,” or perhaps the baseball God’s intervene and $J rises back like a Phoenix…because the A’s deserve soo much better.

  2. ML,

    Agree the Raiders got an unbelievably great offer to move to Las Vegas. Relocating the A’s to Las Vegas will be much more difficult but not impossible. What would need to happen:

    1. MLB waives $2B relocation fee. (future expansion team in No Calif)
    2. MLB gives A’s revenue sharing funds accorded to small markets (see #1)
    3. A’s spend $300 – $500M for stadium construction
    4. Developer spends $300 – $500M for stadium construction
    5. Las Vegas uses TIF, hidden taxes, and any government funding they can grab…I mean federal or state economic development grants…to pay for all “infrastructure” (stadium foundation, utilities, plazas, ancillary parking structures, etc.).

    As much as the Coliseum site makes a lot of sense (lower cost, more parking, proximity to mass transit, and proximity to the South Bay) to the diet Pepsi -Coliseum dog family crowds, the high rolling – wine sipping affluent crowd need more excitement (waterfront views, night clubs, and roulette wheels).

    • I could see a Vegas developer/casino owner/whoever chipping in $300-500 million for stadium construction in exchange for a stake in the A’s franchise. All your ideas Dan A. are on point 😉

    • There’s practically zero chance of MLB waiving a relocation fee. Sets a bad precedent as it effectively kills franchise value for any team outside the big markets. They’d sooner contract and expand 2 teams.

      • Good point. MLB probably believes there is some billionaire willing to pay $2B for an expansion franchise in Las Vegas. If Richard Branson is will to spend $$$ to fly to space, there is probably some rich person with $2B to blow.

      • “There’s practically zero chance of MLB waiving a relcoation fee.” Even IF MLB gave you permission to relocate to another market (i.e.Vegas)? Even IF it’s been completely unworkable in your market (Oakland) for almost 25 years? If that’s the case, then the A’s would be really stuck (“rooted” lol) in Oakland! If I had to blow $2B to leave The O I’d rather just use that to pay off the Giants for SCCo and “relocate” 35 miles down the BART line to $J.

      • Yes, especially yes. Fisher/Wolff had a chance to pay off the Giants but refused to do so. The A’s are stuck because of their cheapness. There is a cost of doing business, no free lunches. Including in Vegas.

      • Wow! MLB pretty much FORCING the A’s to stay in poor @$$ Oakland, even if nothing has happened for nearly 25 years. Don’t allow them to move 35 miles $outh within the same market (Bay Area), take away their revenue sharing and telling them they can’t leave unless you pay us $2 BILLION?! Why is MLB soo intent on screwing one of their franchises?! Makes no business sense whatsoever ML. ?

  3. Why did Victory Court not pan out??? The A’s seemed interested in Victory Court!!! What happened???

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  8. It seems like the best move is to let the A’s see if they can negotiate a deal with Vegas. If it blows up, the city has a stronger hand

  9. Oh yah! forgot to mention: %$#@! TK!! Never liked that Giants loving, $J territorial rights loving %$#@!! Stings to see you giving him props for something ML..

  10. SFGate article on Fisher this morning… Lots of good nuggets in this including that Wolff wanted to build at the Coliseum site. Fisher ex-nayed it.

  11. This whole board is in denial. A’s are gone.

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