Thursday, July 18, 2024

A’s owner John Fisher, Rob Manfred claim they tried to keep team in Oakland before Las Vegas move: ‘Untenable’

A's owner John Fisher, Rob Manfred claim they tried to keep team in Oakland before Las Vegas move: 'Untenable'

MLB owners voted unanimously Thursday morning to approve the move


The big news in the Major League Baseball world on Thursday was the official vote by owners to approve the Athletics move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The A’s are set to have a new ballpark — if things go according to plan — on the Vegas strip for the 2028 season, so they’ll still need to figure out where to play before then

Thursday, from the MLB owners meetings, commissioner Rob Manfred and A’s owner John Fisher held a joint press conference on what will be the first relocation in Major League Baseball since the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals. In particular, both claimed that Fisher and the A’s had done all they could to keep the team in Oakland, despite local leaders fighting hard to keep the club. CBS Sports’ Dayn Perry previously wrote about Fisher’s efforts to get what he wanted.

Here are some of the notable comments from Manfred and Fisher. 

  • Manfred: “I know, I know this is a terrible day for fans in Oakland. I understand that. That’s why we always had a policy of doing everything humanly possible to avoid a relocation, and I truly believe we did that in this case.” (Via Evan Drellich) “I think it’s beyond debate that the status quo in Oakland was untenable … I am absolutely convinced there was not a viable path forward.”
  • Fisher, via Drellich: “I understand that it is an incredibly difficult day for Oakland fans and I just want to say we … did everything we could to try to find a solution there and it was only the last couple years we started to turn our attention to another market.”
  • Manfred on waiving the relocation fee for the A’s: “We felt that a relocation fee in this particular situation was inappropriate,” he said (via Bill Shaikin). Manfred further discussed that he wants Las Vegas to feel the league is behind the A’s. 
  • Manfred on Fisher: “Over the long haul, yes, I think he has been a good owner.” (Shaikin)

Finally, Oakland mayor Sheng Thao has wanted the Athletics name to remain with Oakland and strongly requested an expansion team next time MLB adds to its roster, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. On this matter, Manfred said keeping or changing the name with the move to Vegas is up to the team itself and the A’s have given every indication they are keeping the name. It will have traveled from Philadelphia to Kansas City to Oakland and Las Vegas in the history of the franchise. 

As for an expansion team, Manfred said, “we don’t even know if we’re going to have an expansion process.” (Shaikin)

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