ESPN Reports MLB's Oakland A's Could Ditch the City — and California

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Something appears to be afoot in the professional baseball world if sources talking to ESPN are correct. The cable news behemoth is reporting Tuesday that the Oakland Athletics (often nicknamed the A’s) are considering their options to ditch the Bay area city — and possibly the state of California entirely.

Jeff Passan at ESPN filed this story early Tuesday afternoon:

The Oakland Athletics will start exploring the possibility of relocating with the blessing of Major League Baseball, a move that could put pressure on local government officials to greenlight a new stadium project that has spent years in limbo, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

The A’s, who have played in Oakland since 1968, have prioritized building a waterfront stadium in downtown Oakland at the Howard Terminal site. But after years of failed stadium plans — and weeks after the organization asked for the city council to vote on the $12 billion mixed-use development before its late-July summer recess — the long-anticipated specter of the A’s looking into relocation became a reality on Tuesday.

“The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark,” A’s owner John Fisher said in a statement. “Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”

It wouldn’t be the first time a major league sports franchise played chicken with a municipality partner as a part of negotiating a sweeter deal, which my own city of Phoenix has experience with (with a potential, alleged criminal malfeasance, according to one Conservative councilman) regarding that lackluster, hardwood product of the NBA, the Suns. I’ll have more on sports in the Valley of the Sun later on. Stay tuned.

Back to Oakland’s MLB woes, though. On word of this development, my colleague Shipwreckedcrew opined that the “A’s need to get out of there. Move to Sacramento, build a 45,000-seat stadium, and average 30,000 in attendance. Oakland is a hell-hole.” And he makes solid points on some of those issues; at least the Golden state’s capital city has a professional sports presence with its Kings’ NBA franchise — something you can’t say about the previously-departed Golden State Warriors, who “moved across the bay to San Francisco,” ESPN notes.

Not to mention the now-Las Vegas Raiders of the NFL. And as Passan reports later in the piece, the A’s could join the latter in Sin City, too.

While MLB has been loath to expand, multiple cities have publicly expressed interest in a franchise. The likeliest possibility if the A’s do pursue relocation would be Las Vegas, which has found success with the Raiders and the NHL’s Golden Knights….

There’s also the possibility that the A’s won’t even stay in the United States, the Athletic Toronto’s Blake Murphy hinted in a tweet reacting to the ESPN bombshell:

Vancouver and Montreal both mentioned based on Manfred’s earlier mentions of potential expansion cities.

Which prompted this punster to share a possible team name:

Hm. Let’s move on, shall we?

Major League Baseball has other problems besides team ownership groups pulling up anchor, of course, and the list of examples, as readers probably know, has been recited ad nauseam in these pages and others across conservative media, most notably, as RedState’s Bonchie wrote last month, the fact that fans have been turned-off by on-field, genuflections of woke millionaires wearing uniforms bearing slogans in the name of Critical Race Theory/Black Lives Matter — something which my Townhall.com colleague Alex Corey reported last summer.

Then there’s this season’s most boneheaded rules change about “ghost runners” in extra-inning contests, as author Tom Sileo complained about to Twitter followers over the weekend, calling it out as “dumb luck” — while rightly chastising sports media and MLB commish Rob Manfred:

Watched 2 @MLB games today. Both came down to the absolutely ridiculous extra inning “ghost runner” on 2nd rule. This isn’t baseball — it’s dumb luck. Rob Manfred is a terrible commissioner & so is every sports “journalist” who refuses to ask him tough questions

That’s not to say that nothing good is happening at Major League ballparks in 2021, as my recent piece on the Arizona Diamondbacks’ public relations crew playing “Love Connection” on the Twitters with a couple of fans in the stands showed. (Though even that has a sad trombone ending; our sister site Twitchy gave an update a few days back — no fourth date, unfortunately.)

In the meantime, there’s this Covid pandemic virtue-signaling happening inside the Seattle Mariners’ home field, like sports and pop culture site Outkick’s Gary Sheffield Jr. recently reported, in a piece entitled:

SEATTLE OPENING ‘VACCINATED ONLY’ SECTIONS. WHY? DO VACCINES NOT WORK?

As someone currently occupying the Resolute Desk might say, “C’mon, man.”