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Elephant Rumblings: Rob Manfred commands City of Oakland to obey John Fisher’s wishes

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2022 World Series Game 6: Philadelphia Phillies v. Houston Astros Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!

At last week’s Winter Meetings, MLB Commisioner Rob Manfred hit the bully pulpit and scolded the City of Oakland for its laggardly approach to finding hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the necessary infrastructural improvements for a massive new development at Howard Terminal that will be suitable for a new Oakland A’s ballpark stadium.

Per Scott Ostler at the San Francisco Chronicle, Manfred went so far as to issue a deadline for the city to come to terms with the A’s. Get it done by January 2024, or else ... well, I don’t think Manfred was clear on Fisher’s contingency plans.

Presumably, the threat we face is that the A’s will pack up and move to Las Vegas. But there’s no solid evidence that conditions are promising to carry out such a move, nor that Sin City is prepared to roll out the red carpet to make it as cheap and easy as possible.

Ostler plausibly postulates that the resources the A’s continue to expend towards advancing the Howard Terminal project may well be evidence that Fisher knows staying in Oakland is still Plan A. Vegas could prove a bluff just as Manfred is all bluster if he thinks he can command the City of Oakland to pull $300 million out of a magician’s hat without playing any tricks on its taxpayers down the line.

Ostler rightly observed that Manfred “hit wrong notes” in characterizing the city as being solely at fault for the impasse over a new A’s ballpark. Hopefully Manfred will shut up now and allow both sides to work together towards a deal that is good for the city and team alike.

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