It may be a lost cause at this point, but Oakland’s political leaders and baseball fans are not letting the A’s go to Las Vegas without fighting until the bitter end.
With Major League Baseball set to vote next week on the A’s proposed relocation amid high expectations of approval, the club’s hometown since 1968 is still trying to change minds.
Oakland mayor Sheng Thao, who has battled for months with league officials, wrote team owners detailing how the more than $900 million in proposed public-sector assistance for a new ballpark in Oakland would nearly triple the $380 million in taxpayer funds pledged in Las Vegas, now the subject of a potential referendum.
During a standing-room-only hearing this week, Oakland’s city council also unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming its commitment to keeping the A’s.
“You can have Oakland, [and] you can have Las Vegas. You can have both,” Thao said. “You can keep this amazing fan base and expand into a new market. All you have to do is vote no and make sure that the Oakland A’s stay rooted here in the city of Oakland.”
Thao’s letter is additionally part of an elaborate “Stay In Oakland” box developed by a group of A’s fans, along with supporting clothing companies and designers. Sent to team owners, the box also includes an A’s cap, a customized baseball card, and a DVD of Oakland baseball history.
“The box is everything that’s been done before in Oakland, and why they should vote no,” said Stephen Lucero, an A’s fan, artist, and firefighter.
If approved, the relocation will represent MLB’s second franchise shift since 1971.