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Elephant Rumblings: Thao dunks on Manfred yet again

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Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao is once again pushing back on MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s disingenuous posturing around the A’s plans to relocate to Las Vegas.

Per Scott Ostler at the San Francisco Chronicle, an MLB spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that there was no discussion of a potential Oakland Coliseum lease extension between Thao and Manfred at a meeting they held in Seattle before the 2023 All-Star Game.

Thao’s office rejected that claim wholesale yesterday.

Leigh Hanson, the mayor’s chief of staff, said that while there was no deep dive into the specifics of an agreement, the possibility of an extension to give the A’s a place to play after 2024 “definitely came up.” The A’s lease at the Coliseum ends after next season, but the A’s have stated they don’t expect their planned Vegas ballpark to be ready until 2028.

Hanson went on to say that the facts are not trivial, as “public statements have an impact on public perception,” and that the commissioner’s “disingenuous and unfortunate” statements could hamper dealmaking.

The Coliseum seems like the most attractive option on the table for the A’s transitional period, and Thao could use a lease extension as leverage, possibly to keep the rights to the Athletics name, or to put Oakland next in line for an MLB extension team. Put the two together, and you have a creative means of keeping the A’s in Oakland.

Hanson said that Thao’s office has not been contacted by the A’s or MLB about a lease extension since the Seattle meeting. It’s easy to imagine A’s owner John Fisher and President Dave Kaval scrambling for alternatives to the Coliseum that aren’t terrible.

Hanson also said that Manfred acknowledged that Oakland would be a top contender for an expansion team. But I wouldn’t take anything Manfred says to the bank.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend, AN.

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