First, clarifications. Then the usual drivel. The main purpose of Athletics Nation is to talk about the A’s on the field, and with pitchers and catchers inching ever closer to reporting you have my word I will be pivoting to analysis of the actual team. I hope for this to be my last article on the pathetic attempted move for a while.
Also I think there may be some misunderstanding around my overall position, which is easy to mischaracterize as “I don’t think the A’s will move to Las Vegas in the end.” That’s not quite the case, as I believe that is still unknowable given all the factors swirling around.
My position has been, and continues to be, that I think it is a plan doomed to failure to try to build a stadium, on that 9 acre parcel, for $1.5B. When what you have is about 25% short of what you actually need, all the renderings in the world won’t impress physics or banks when the rubber hits the road.
There are absolutely scenarios in which the A’s can successfully complete the Las Vegas plan. They involve, in my ever so humble opinion, pivoting from the Tropicana site to an entirely different location (which would require passing a new bill to secure the public funding), and they involve confirming the financing for a stadium of $2B+.
The latter could come from a new minority owner willing to invest in the project. I would say it could also come from John Fisher winning the state lottery, but the A’s don’t seem to be very good at lotteries.
In any event, as the A’s tour small minor league facilities begging for a home in 2025-27, so long as the only plan is to try to squeeze a stadium out of 9 acres on a $1.5B budget I will predict its failure.
Which brings us to Sacramento.
While the Las Vegas stadium project has until 2028 to fail, the A’s have only until the 2025 schedule is made to figure out where they will play their home games once the Coliseum lease expires.
Partly because I am so skeptical of the Las Vegas project coming to fruition, I am actually very keen on the prospect of the A’s settling on Sacramento as their “temporary” home. (Remember that in-law who moved in for “just a few weeks” and that was 4 years ago and now you’re trying to figure out how to get them out?)
I like the idea of the A’s playing in Sacramento, partly because as a Bay Area fan it would mean continuity of the TV revenues and coverage on NBC Sports California. I may attend a few games each year, but I watch over 100 on TV and so the TV coverage is actually a crucial piece in keeping me connected.
If the A’s were to settle into Sutter Health Park in Sacramento (would you buy tickets, hot dogs, beer, and souvenirs, or would there just be a “co pay” for coming in?), for starters I am assured of having the A’s on TV every day from now through the 2027 season. And with the team less than an hour and a half away, an in person game is even accessible if I am so inclined. (I used to go up for a River Cats game every year when they were an A’s affiliate.)
A temporary move to Sacramento also offers some continuity if and when the whole Las Vegas debacle comes crashing down like an asbestos filled casino. In a scenario where the project crumbles, really Fisher’s only viable option is to sell to someone since he won’t have Vegas, he won’t have Oakland, Sacramento is no permanent solution, and the A’s haven’t even been on “parallel paths” with any other city.
Obviously an A’s fan’s dream is that such a sale would be to a buyer looking to build in Oakland, where not one but two large parcels sit just waiting for ground to be broken. Perhaps the fairy tale-est ending has the A’s scooting up 80 for a 3-4 year Oakland pause before returning to where they belong in a stadium worthy of the big leagues.
Landing back in Oakland may be, at this moment in time, a fantasy, but a shift to barely an hour north at least leaves intact a scenario where the A’s don’t ever fully leave or sever ties to a Bay Area fan base — certainly not to a Bay Area TV market.
And let’s never lose sight of how much of an absolute train wreck this effort continues to be. Not only can the team not produce renderings it is willing to show or financing it can announce, but they have seemingly pivoted from all 3 of the sites Klown Kaval cited as being in consideration (Oakland Coliseum, Oracle, Summerlin).
Now they’ve toured Sacramento and also Salt Lake, where they would be settling for a 14,500 seat minor league stadium outside of the region eligible to maintain their existing TV revenue. Clearly they have reached the “anyone who will have us” criteria of begging for a home, because every bad idea they had before turned out to be — and who could possibly have seen this coming — bad.
The 2023 A’s were 50-112 and yet they were infinitely more competent at their job than Fisher and Kaval are at theirs. So we wait to see if their house of cards, carefully stacked with rhetoric and precariously held together by lies, will topple.
In the meantime, I say by all means let’s embrace the team taking up residency nearby — close enough to follow them daily and far enough to decline to support them financially. And let’s just see what happens to that house of cards on an especially windy day.
I look forward to writing about baseball next weekend!
Where do you think the A’s ultimately play home games in 2025?
This poll is closed
Salt Lake City
162 away games
A city not named here (explain in comments)