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Elephant Rumblings: Manfred gaslights reporters in sham press conference

MLB news roundup

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San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It’s Friday, Athletics Nation.

Despite a marvelous Reverse Boycott at the Coliseum on Tuesday, in which over 27,000 fans converged on the Coliseum in protest of owner John Fisher’s relocation designs and in support of keeping the A’s in Oakland, momentum towards a move to Las Vegas gained a lot of steam this week. A Vegas stadium bill has now been signed into law by Governor Joe Lombardo. Little resistance is expected from MLB owners, 24 of whom must approve the A’s relocation plan in order for it to move forward.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred fielded questions about the relocation at MLB headquarters on Thursday, and his responses ranged from manifestly disingenuous to completely absurd. Evan Drellich at The Athletic provided details on Manfred’s comments.

Manfred stated that “it has always been baseball’s policy and preference to stay put.” But he went on to say that despite a near decade-long push, “there is no Oakland offer, OK?” He also commented that “the community has to provide support and you know ... it’s just not going to happen.”

Manfred apparently forgot that Oakland had already shored up hundreds of millions in infrastructure support and approved an environmental impact review, while it was the A’s that suddenly and shockingly ended negotiations with the city back in April to focus solely on Las Vegas.

When asked about Tuesday’s Reverse Boycott, Manfred offered a backhanded compliment, saying, “It’s great to see what is, this year, almost an average Major League Baseball crowd in the facility for one night.”

Asked if John Fisher is making a good faith effort to field a competitive team, Fisher dwelled on the A’s success in past years.

If you aren’t yet sufficiently outraged, head on over to The Athletic and read Drellich’s full writeup. Manfred goes on to spin fantasies that fly in the face of basic economics and public policy research.

Oakland mayor Sheng Thao released the following response to Manfred’s “no offer” assertion:

“This is just totally false. There was a very concrete proposal under discussion and Oakland had gone above and beyond to clear hurdles, including securing funding for infrastructure, providing an environmental review and working with other agencies to finalize approvals. The reality is the A’s ownership had insisted on a multibillion dollar, 55-acre project that included a ballpark, residential, commercial and retail space. In Las Vegas, for whatever reason, they seem satisfied with a 9-acre leased ballpark on leased land. If they had proposed a similar project in Oakland, we feel confident a new ballpark would already be under construction. Oakland showed its commitment to the A’s and that is why the A’s belong in Oakland.”

Did I just hear a mic hit the stage floor?

A’s Coverage:

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Count me in.

May expresses appreciation for Tuesday’s crowd.

Hanks gives a damn.

I may just have to buy my Reddick shares back.

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Roster moves.

Lovelady feeling the burn.

Reverse Boycott drives high ridership.

Canha excited for Mets Pride Night.