The Oakland city council passed a resolution on Tuesday afternoon by a 7-0 vote to affirm their attempts to keep the Athletics in the Bay. The Howard Terminal location provides a viable solution for John Fisher and the A’s, and the city has come up with over $400 million in public funds to help finance the venture.
The council and Mayor Sheng Thao are attempting to sway the owners, who are expected to vote on the A’s relocation efforts at the owners meetings later next week. The resolution is a show of good faith from the community that they’ve done everything in their power to keep the A’s in Oakland. The hope is that the owners will vote to prevent Fisher from moving forward with the relocation process. It seems unlikely that they will do so.
The problem is that this is an attempt to appeal to the hearts of the other owners. Baseball is a cold, calculating business. The owners don’t care where the A’s end up. They care about two things: one is whether this change impacts their revenues, and two is how they would want to be treated if they were in the same situation.
MLB owners want it their way, or no way at all
John Sherman, owner of the Kansas City Royals, is angling for nearly $400 million in public financing to support the development of a new ballpark district. If the city doesn’t play ball, Sherman will want the ability to hold the city hostage for the money and the ability to up and leave if he doesn’t get it.
It’s the same angle for Fisher and the Las Vegas relocation. The owners will allow it to happen because they would want the same freedom in a similar situation. Whether the city of Las Vegas provides the public funds necessary for Fisher to build his stadium is a separate conversation.
It’s wonderful to see the Oakland community and its leadership show this level of commitment to the franchise that it has held dear for over 50 years. It’s incredibly unfortunate that John Fisher isn’t interested in giving back to the community that’s supported this team through thick and thin. There's nobody to blame for the situation the A's are in except Fisher himself. For now, it’s a tricky time for A’s fans who are torn about supporting a franchise that doesn’t love them back.