Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher appears to be succeeding in his quest to rip the team out of the city in favor of a move to Las Vegas.
Fisher did little to nothing to invest in the team or the Oakland Coliseum since purchasing the Athletics in 2005. But when he shot ticket prices through the roof for a losing team and fans stopped showing up, he was sure to blame them as a reason for his decision.
And Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is complicit in the decision.
Las Vegas’ legislature recently passed a bill that would fund a new stadium for Fisher, who is worth over $2 billion. While Oakland was slightly more hesitant to bail out the human embodiment of Scrooge McDuck.
Manfred then made sure to blame the city for Fisher moving the team.
“I think that the real question is what is it that Oakland was prepared to do? There is no Oakland offer,” he said. “I mean, they never got to the point where they had a plan to build a stadium at any site. And it’s not just John Fisher. You don’t build a stadium based on the club activity alone. The community has to provide support. And, you know, at some point, you come to the realization it’s just not going to happen.”
As it turns out, that’s not true.
— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) June 15, 2023
“This is just totally false,” Oakland mayor Sheng Thao said of Manfred’s comments.
“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 proposals,” she continued.
In a statement to local news station ABC7, Thao explained further.
“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,” she said. “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.”
That paints a much different picture than the one Manfred did. But hey, in the end Fisher was always going to get his way.