LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — In the Bay Area, reaction mostly is venomous to the Oakland Athletics signing a binding agreement to purchase land for a ballpark in Las Vegas. The years of negotiating with area officials was simply leverage to broker a deal in Southern Nevada, officials say.
The A’s will mark the third major professional sports team to leave Oakland in four years. The Raiders relocated in 2020, and while the Golden State Warriors remain in the Bay Area, they’ve played their home games in San Francisco since 2019.
Here’s a sample of reaction from officials and fans in Oakland:
“I am deeply disappointed that the A’s have chosen not to negotiate with the city of Oakland as a true partner, in a way that respects the long relationship between the fans, the city and the team,” Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said in a statement. “… It is clear to me that the A’s have no intention of staying in Oakland and have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas. I am not interested in continuing to play that game — the fans and our residents deserve better.”
Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas also blamed the team, saying: “Oakland has worked incredibly hard to reach an agreement with the A’s. Countless residents have engaged in the community benefits process. I thank everyone who has worked for a win-win deal. The A’s are not committed to Oakland. It’s time to move on.”
Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, who starred for the A’s on their World Series championship teams in the 1970s, blamed the city for the team’s desert decision.
“The city, I thought, really needed to do something,” Jackson said in an interview with sportico.com. “Save the A’s. You lost the Warriors. You lost the Raiders. What the hell’s wrong with you? You can’t see that coming? The fans don’t deserve that.
“I blame the people running the deal. You’ve got to keep the team for the benefit of the city. They lost all three of them.”
Many fans say they are heartbroken. Others find fault with the team.
Bay Area fan Joe Orrico notes the three teams leaving Oakland since 2019 and says on Twitter: “Not sure how you recover from that if you are a sports fan in the area. It’s just awful.”
Adds A’s fan Chris, also on Twitter: “I can’t handle this A’s news. It’s so unfair. We’ve put up with so much bull—-. For so long. And to rip this historic franchise out of Oakland hurts so much. I wanted to go to Oakland A’s games for the rest of my life, take my grandkids, etc. Just heartbroken.”
Fan Kevin Pawell, also on Twitter, blames the city and team ownership for turning their backs on fans: “The fans of the Oakland A’s deserve so much more than the —- ownership and the —- city making them play in their —- ballpark. Even in their —- ballpark…this was PURE ELECTRICITY!”
The Athletics’ move from Oakland to Las Vegas will mark the franchise’s third relocation since joining the American League in 1901. While a number of teams used the name in the late 19th century, the Philadelphia Athletics existed from 1901 to 1954 and were primarily run by Hall of Fame manager and baseball executive Cornelius McGillicuddy, better known as Connie Mack.
Mack ran the Athletics from 1901 through the 1950 season when he retired at age 87. He holds the record for most wins by a manager with 3,731 and also the most losses, 3,948.
In November 1954, the Athletics were sold and moved to Kansas City, where they stayed until 1967. The team was then moved to Oakland to start the 1968 season under owner Charles Finley, who had purchased a majority interest in 1960.
In Philadelphia, the A’s won nine pennants and five World Series. The franchise was shut out in Kansas City, never winning the AL pennant or, of course, a World Series. In Oakland, the A’s won six AL championships and four World Series, the last in 1989 under manager Tony La Russa.