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Elephant Rumblings: A’s defer April rent payment on Coliseum

MLB news roundup

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland Athletics Photo by Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The big news on Tuesday involved the Oakland A’s and their stadium. David DeBolt of the Mercury News first reported that the team has refused to make its annual $1.2 million rent payment on the Coliseum, which was due on April 1. In a follow-up, the S.F. Chronicle clarified that the A’s are merely deferring the payment, not skipping it altogether.

The team is yet to comment publicly on the situation, but they did send a letter to the Coliseum Authority on March 31 explaining their stance (via Susan Slusser, S.F. Chronicle). They claimed that the stadium was not available for their use, between government bans on large gatherings (both county and state level) and the possibility of using the ballpark as an overflow site for coronavirus patients if hospitals were overrun. They then cite a force majeure provision in the rental agreement that gives them the right to defer payment, precisely as they have done.

For what it’s worth, Slusser retweeted a person who identified himself as a real estate attorney, and who agreed it “seems like a good argument to me.”

The Coliseum Authority initially told a different tale. They originally alleged that the A’s stance was that they had “no ability to pay” due to an inability to generate revenue at the stadium, but they later backtracked and clarified that the team “never said they didn’t have the money” (via Slusser). One board member accused the A’s of using the pandemic as an excuse not to pay, saying the team is “full of it.”

A’s Coverage:

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Not gonna lie, I’d expect a group of a few dozen billionaires to be better at writing contracts. This is a massive unforced error they’re trying to correct, and it’s hard to have sympathy for them.

Not a surprise, but a sad reminder of the current state of affairs

Jake Diekman for a good cause

Boyd also recorded an excellent Steph Curry track a few years ago

No I didn’t wonder, but I have a feeling you’re gonna remind me anyway.