Rob Manfred Addresses Oakland A’s Reverse Boycott And Move To Las Vegas

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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addressed Oakland A’s fans frustrated with the team’s likely move to Las Vegas.

And it’s not going to make those fans any happier.

The A’s recently received legislative approval to partially receive public funding for their proposed new stadium in Las Vegas.

And it came on the same day that fans staged a “reverse boycott,” where they tried to fill the stadium to send a message to team ownership.


Manfred spoke to The Athletic’s Evan Drellich about it and was almost immediately combative.

“I hear from ’em, I feel sorry for the fans in Oakland – I do not like this outcome.” Manfred continued, “I understand why they feel the way they do. I think the real question is, what is it Oakland was prepared to do? There is no Oakland offer. OK? They never got to a point where they had a plan to build a stadium at any site. And it’s not just John Fisher…The community has to provide support. At some point you come to the realization it’s just not going to happen.”

Oakland A's Las Vegas Reverse Boycott
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 13: Oakland Athletics fans fill RingCentral Coliseum during a reverse boycott game against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13, 2023 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brandon Vallance/Getty Images)

Manfred Throws Shade At Oakland A’s Fans

Manfred continued, addressing the significant jump in attendance for the reverse boycott game.

“It was great. It’s great to see what is, this year, almost an average Major League Baseball crowd in the facility for one night. That’s a great thing,” he said.

With that snide remark, he confirmed everything that A’s fans have been trying to say.

MLB and team ownership has decided that it’s fans responsibility to pay exorbitant ticket prices to go to a decrepit facility. To see an uncompetitive team with ownership that has no interest in staying.

Just as with any other product, consumers are under no obligation to pay for something that returns no value. But MLB has decided that unlike other products, their customers should fill stadiums despite ownership’s disinterest.

But that pales in comparison to Manfred’s comments on a deal to get a stadium built in Oakland.

Oakland’s mayor responded, saying that the city had engaged in discussions on concrete plans.

That’s not even the most obvious issue, however. It’s the attitude from Manfred that cities and taxpayers should shoulder the burden of building private businesses for billionaires.

He makes the case that baseball stadiums are different from other businesses, but if they’re so beneficial to cities, there would be evidence confirming it. Yet in virtually every study, researchers have found there’s no financial benefit to local residents.

Simply, team owners have realized they can get taxpayers to pay for their facilities without arranging financing themselves. And if baseball stadiums were such outstanding businesses, why would getting private financing be hard or undesirable?

Quite simply, team owner John Fisher can make more money in Las Vegas through public funding, and so he wants to leave.

That’s fine, just be honest about it instead of feigning support while sarcastically expressing contempt.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

One Comment

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  1. The A’s are 6th in winning percentage in MLB since moving to Oakland. Four World Series titles.

    They are 8th in the 20th Century. They made the playoffs as recently as 2019-2020.

    And for those DECADES, two things never changed. (1). They never drew well compared to other franchises that won that much and (2). Their facilities were among the worst in professional sports.

    Eventually, somebody came along with a better deal.

    And just as with the Warriors, and just as with the Raiders, the league and ownership took the better deal.

    This is squarely at the feet of the ‘fans’ of Oakland and the anti-development local politicians they routinely elect.

    When a ‘fan base’ loses its NBA, NFL and MLB teams all within five years of each other, it’s pretty obvious where the problem is.

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