Why the A's will NEVER be the Las Vegas A's

So, everytime someone posts that the A's should or will move to Las Vegas, I roll my eyes, because there are at least a hundred reasons why they shouldn't/won't. At the moment, I can only come up with fifteen, but as a public service to AN, I will list them here. Anytime someone brings it up, just point them to this post.

(Full disclosure: I am a lifelong fan of the A's. I grew up in Calaveras County, and my dad would buy A's tickets at a drug store in Lodi whenever we wanted to go. I have lived in Las Vegas, off and on, since 1989. It would be my dream come true if the A's moved to a brand-new ballpark here. It would also be a disaster, and here's why.)

1. The casino operators don't want it. They do not want their customers sitting in a ballpark for three hours not gambling. When broadway shows (Jersey Girls, The Lion King, etc.) play in Vegas, the casinos make them cut the shows down to 90 minutes or less so they aren't away from the blackjack tables for so long. If there was a baseball stadium on casino property, they'd make all the games five innings.

2. MLB would demand some sort of limitation (or ban) on betting on baseball. That is a non-starter, and will always be. Anybody who says otherwise, like Our Esteemed Mayor, is lying or doesn't work in a casino.

3. Half of the local work force works at night (swing shift) and wouldn't be able to attend most games (assuming they want to).

4. The recession has crippled the Las Vegas economy. We now lead the nation in unemployment and foreclosures. We're in worse shape than Detroit, and there's no bailout for casinos on the horizon.

5. Even when the recession ends, Las Vegas's place in the gaming world has changed. Nevada could always count on virtually all legitimate gambling to be conducted in our state. With the explosion of Native American casinos all across the country (especially in Southern California), this is no longer the case.

6. The biggest champion of the cause, Our Esteemed Mayor, has very little political influence. He is simply the guy that runs the City Council meetings, and the City does not include the Strip. Thus, he can't broker a land or building deal unless it's downtown (where there is little available space) or in the suburbs (hello, NIMBYs), and that's assuming he can get the rest of the city goverment to fall in line.

7. I'm no financial expert but I doubt banks are getting in line to finance projects in Las Vegas these days. The future of no less than five new Strip properties is in serious doubt because they are about to default on their construction loans.

8. If you're thinking about upgrading Cashman Field (home of the local AAA team, the 51s) on the cheap, forget it. Cashman is the Coliseum of the PCL. It's old, and it's facilities are hopelessly out of date. It's the primary reason the Dodgers did not renew their operating agreement with the 51s.

9. The footprint of Cashman Field is very small. If there are more than 7500 customers at the facility (it has a convention center and theater attached) the parking lots absolutely fill up.

10. The neighborhood surrounding Cashman field has apparently been forsaken by God.

11. The 51s have a sweetheart lease with the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (the owners of the facility) - - low rent, a huge portion of concessions - - and they still barely break even.

12. Because of the whole "comp" economic system in place here, the locals do not like to pay for tickets. This appears to be in conflict with the business of selling tickets to an event. When I was working for a minor-league hockey team here, we would have games with free ticket giveaways, in the hopes of enticing people to come back and pay their way, and the place would be packed to the rafters. But on regular nights, it was 20% full, or less. It was actually a burden to make the playoffs because that meant we would have to rent the Thomas & Mack Arena for another two nights and play playoff games in front of 1,800 people.

13. Las Vegas' sports history is littered with failed franchises. Currently there are two: the 51s and the Wranglers, a minor-league hockey team. Both operate with very good leases, very low salaries and very low expectations. They will be around as long as they don't fall into red ink, and not a minute longer. All the others, including Arena Football, are gone. And please don't mention the XFL; it breaks my heart to talk about it. Anyway, past is prologue.

14. The locals do not support teams that don't win a lot. Contrary to popular belief, the UNLV men's basketball team do not sell out every game. They had their first sellout since 1993 this past season against BYU - - and the stands were half full of BYU fans making the road trip. 1993, by the way, was exactly two years after the Rebs lost to Duke in the NCAA tournament. If a local baseball team had a down year or two like the A's had in '08, it would be years before they came out for anything besides Yankees and Red Sox games.

15. The A's already played here once, in 1996. They played six games. Opening Night was a sellout (9,336). For the other five games, there were plenty of tickets available.

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