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Elephant Rumblings: Dave Kaval breaks silence on relocation

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Oakland Athletics Agree To Purchase Land In Las Vegas For New Stadium Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

A fire broke out at Schnitzer Steel / Radius Recycling on Wednesday, and it apparently gave A’s president Dave Kaval a burning desire to speak publicly about the A’s decision to seek a new home in Las Vegas.

Schnitzer Steel was an opponent of the A’s Howard Terminal plan, and filed a lawsuit against the team to hinder progress towards a new ballpark. The A’s have countersued, and Kaval suggests that the organization is now pursuing public interest litigation on behalf of Oakland’s residents, absent any continued interest in actually building a ballpark at Howard Terminal.

The City of Oakland didn’t back the A’s countersuits, and Kaval cited that as a case in point that the city wasn’t duly supportive of the A’s plans more generally.

Kaval also echoed MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s assertion that the A’s and Oakland never had a deal in place. Per Shayna Rubin at The Mercury News, Kaval told the paper that Oakland “was never able to come up with the funding to honor that agreement. Period. The city council passed the (non-binding) agreement in 2021 ... They were never able to honor that commitment. On top of that, we had all these opponents, with Schnitzer pushing everything out into the next decade.”

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao countered through a spokesperson that Schnitzer was “not a deal point in the negotiations. Period.” Thao’s office also contends that the A’s would not have stood to benefit from the city’s backing of their litigation.

Kaval also stated that the team’s potential loss of revenue sharing if a binding deal for a new ballpark wasn’t in place by January 2024 was a big factor in pursuing relocation, implying that the A’s are committed to fielding a quality team. As of now, the A’s are still getting shared revenue, but they have the second lowest total payroll in MLB to go along with the fewest wins so far this season.

Check out Rubin’s piece at The Mercury and let me know if Kaval is blowing a lot of smoke, or if I just have my head in the clouds. Dave might as well have just remained silent as far as I’m concerned.

Oakland may not be the easiest place to build a ballpark, but the city had secured hundreds of millions to support a Howard Terminal development before the A’s abruptly walked away from negotiations in April. Nothing Kaval said explains that about face.

Have a wonderful weekend, AN.

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