Wednesday November 29, 2023

Oakland-MLB Relationship Devolves Into Next-Level Toxicity

  • Commissioner, mayor have very different accounts of July meeting
  • Dispute may ultimately impact team's temporary home during Las Vegas construction
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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The Oakland A’s now appear ready to leave Oakland for Las Vegas as soon as possible. 

The team might not play another game at the Coliseum after the current lease expires following the 2024 season, as the already-strained relationship between the city of Oakland and MLB has now reached an unprecedented level of toxicity. 

Speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred accused Oakland mayor Sheng Thao of misrepresenting the substance of a July meeting between the two and failing to deliver a truly substantive stadium proposal to keep the A’s.

“I understand that is a rough time for Mayor Thao,” Manfred said. “It looks like she’s going to lose yet another franchise from the Bay Area. That’s unfortunate. That’s a tough spot to be in. But I think we’ve kind of gotten to the point where we need to point out that she’s not telling people the truth. All of this is about covering your ass at this point.”

Unsurprisingly, the mayor’s office strongly disputed Manfred’s characterization. Thao’s chief of staff, Leigh Hanson, told the Chronicle, “We will leave it to the fans to decide who’s telling the truth, Mayor Thao or Manfred. At this point, their reputations speak for themselves.”

Interim Impacts

The deteriorating relationship between the league and city could diminish the likelihood of Oakland returning to the Coliseum to play for the 2025-27 seasons while the team’s planned Las Vegas stadium is developed. 

MLB and the A’s are also considering the neighboring Oracle Park and Las Vegas Ballpark, the home of the A’s Triple-A minor league affiliate, with the league driving the selection process.

The disagreement between Manfred and Thao also extends to a proposed Coliseum lease extension. Thao’s office said it was absolutely discussed at the July meeting, while Manfred said the session was entirely about the city’s push to keep the A’s permanently.

The A’s finished their 2023 home schedule on Sunday with a final attendance of 832,352 — up by 5.6% from a year ago, but still by far the lowest in the league. 

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