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The A’s Aren’t Going Anywhere (Except In The Standings)

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Syndication: USA TODAY Greg Wohlford via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Not that I have anything to say on the topic that hasn’t already been said. That’s what happens when a topic has been discussed ad nauseum every year since the Colosseum opened in 70 AD. (Cue Mr. Saturday Night to ask, “Do you see what I did there?”)

I cried in the 70’s when the SF Chronicle headline read “A’s Sold To Denver”. I cried and panicked many times in subsequent years as media outlets, the city, and the A’s themselves questioned whether a move out of the area might be imminent. In fairness, though, I also cry and panic when the A’s fall behind 2-0 in the 3rd inning.

First off, it’s important to remember that MLB/ Rob Manfred ultimately hopes to expand to 32 teams. Assuming they won’t let the A’s leave and then put an expansion team in Oakland to enjoy the existing conditions, relocating the A’s means reducing by one the cities eligible for an expansion team. This is a big deal when you consider that the number of viable cities could be as low as 1 or even 0.

In Las Vegas, you have a small population (roughly 650,000, but with little outside of the immediate city) in a locale driven by visitors — not a good backdrop for an 81 game home schedule spread out over 6 months. Only if you call home the Aviators’ 10,000 seat stadium are you likely to enjoy a lot of capacity crowds.

Portland is also oft cited as a possible baseball destination for a departing A’s franchise, due to its sizable population and West Coast alignment. But even if it proves to be viable, Portland not only has one fewer stadium than Oakland right now, it is a key potential 31st MLB team so why would MLB want to make it #30?

As for Montreal, perhaps we should resume that discussion when the Blue Jays are not housed in Dunedin, Florida. Nashville? I will defer to Barry Zito to write a country song about the odds of that working.

The point is, no scenario exists where MLB comes out ahead by moving the A’s to one of the precious few venues that may — or may well not — be suited to housing a major league baseball team. if you think Las Vegas and Portland are risks, try Las Vegas, Portland, and Montreal.

So you have an A’s owner whose roots are in the Bay Area and a league that is best off to keep the A’s in Oakland. Really the only foreseeable outcomes are that the A’s build a new stadium here, or that John Fisher sells the team to a group committed to building a stadium here. **cough** dave stewart ** cough **

Now the city of Oakland could screw all this up, and usually does, and so the wild card (which the A’s rarely win, it’s true) is the city’s capacity to make it flat-out impossible for the A’s to stay. But if you think that ultimately, MLB would actually prefer relocation to a new stadium on the same site, I have a bridge I would like to build for you at Peralta College.

Neither side, MLB or A’s brass, wants the Coliseum site because the potential for profits is much lower. But lower than a move to the third most viable city on the expansion list? When not a single one of them is a slam dunk?

No, my friends, what we have here is big-league posturing around a team that is more rooted in Oakland than our greedy overlords would like you to believe. That’s not wishful thinking, it’s common sense.