Today is not a great day to be an A’s fan. Sadly, over the course of the last two years, very few days have been great days to be an A’s fan. But today hurts more.
This morning, before dawn, all 30 owners voted to approve the A’s bid for relocation to Las Vegas. Despite what the doom and gloom headlines on social media may have you believe, this is not the end of the story for the A’s in Oakland but it’s never been closer to the end.
Honestly, we all expected this outcome. We all knew the owners would fall in line and that the merits or viability of the project were of little consequence. The fact of the matter is that at any moment any of these 30 ownership groups may need a favor and so they all vote against the greater interests of the game in order to keep that favor card in their back pocket.
There is reporting that indicates that the owners have added a binding agreement to the approval that stipulates a heavy fee for John Fisher if it turns out that this is a pump and dump scheme to inflate the team’s value so he can sell. Unless that “tax” is in the billions of dollars, it’s essentially just a means for the owners to collect the relocation fee they agreed to waive out of respect for John Fisher’s billionaire poorness.
These meetings have been a disaster for the A’s as far as PR is concerned and it’s very likely the owners just want to get this settled and done with to get some of the attention off of them. It’s also possible that they have no confidence that Fisher and Dave Kaval can get this project over the finish line anyway so the vote was strictly a “kick the can down the road” measure. And, of course, it’s also possible that they’re all just idiots who fell for the grift that Fisher and Kaval have been trotting out for years now.
Just this week, Fisher claimed that this entire fiasco has been worse for him than it has been for the fans. That comment was met with exactly the ire and disdain that you’d expect from a fan base who have been continuously beat down by Fisher’s inaction, inability, and indifference. He then sent a letter out to A’s fans hoping that they’ll understand and talking about the bright new future ahead of this team. The same team that will be homeless after next season and will be at the top of every no-trade clause for the next decade.
Where was a letter to the fans five years ago? Instead of bitching and moaning about how the fans just don’t turn up and the politicians just don’t move fast enough, why didn’t Fisher try to harness the power of this fanbase to their own benefit? The same fans who charter airplane flyovers, organize giveaways, and create a protest chant heard in stadiums across the country probably could have shown up to a lot of hearings, meetings, and votes to have their voices heard. But no. John Fisher would rather complain than to acknowledge the fact that he didn’t come close to covering every corner in Oakland.
Like I said, though, the story is not over. Until first pitch, things can go wrong and considering the people at the helm of this ship, things will go wrong. The team faces opposition from lobbyists who want to revoke SB1 – the bill that gave the A’s nearly $400M for free and it’s possible this new sales tax the owners imposed on Fisher may throw a wrench into his plans.
There’s also the very real possibility that Fisher can’t pay for this project and today’s vote was just a stop gap to ensure continued revenue sharing – a factor that Fisher and Kaval both admit was critical to the team.
A lot can go wrong and there’s still plenty to fight for. But if by some stroke of chance Dave or John read this, I want you both to know that I think you’re horrible people. Your loyalty to this team pales in comparison to the loyalty shown by thousands of fans who know this team as much more than an investment. The Oakland Athletics are an institution, a mile marker, and a deep part of many people’s lives. It runs deeper than the sport, the players, and certainly any ownership group.
You have robbed us of countless good memories from the future but you can’t take away the love, nostalgia, and family of our past. We’re bigger than you. We’re better than you. We love this team more than you. You’re the scab on the rectal prolapse of a flea infested gutter dog and I hope that you feel shame and embarrassment every time you are confronted by one of the bay area loyals who you betrayed with years of “Rooted in Oakland” nonsense. And to Dave Kaval specifically, my greatest regret as an A’s fan will forever be singing your praises upon your arrival. You’ve done nothing good for this team. You’ve brought nothing but ill-will, embarrassment, and failure to your office, and you will be remembered as a stain on a beloved franchise.
I hope this all falls apart. It won’t be easy and the odds have never been more against the fans but until I’m ignoring a Las Vegas first pitch in 2028, I will hold on to the last sliver of hope these carnival barkers and hucksters haven’t stripped from me.
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