Athletics Las Vegas Ballpark

Ex-manager Howe has emotional reaction to A's possible Vegas move

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Athletics fans took yet another punch to the gut this week when Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo signed a bill into law Thursday that will help fund the A's new Las Vegas stadium if they clear additional upcoming hurdles.

It's far from a done deal yet, but former A's manager Art Howe already is reminiscing on what was. As he looked back on all the fond memories during his time in Oakland, he is saddened by the news of the potential move and how it will impact lifelong fans.

"It certainly was [electric]," Howe told F.P. Santangelo on Thursday during a KNBR interview. "That group in the outfield playing the drums and cheering the guys on no matter what, I mean every inning they were up and cheering the guys on and on. I'll never forget my time in Oakland. The fans were so wonderful.

"What's going on over there evidently leaving here in the next couple of years, I really feel for the fans cause they deserve a team. They're just wonderful fans. As you said, no matter how many were there, they made the most noise you could even imagine. [They were] so supportive of the players. They loved every player on the team and came out to support them and like I said, I'm reading all these articles about the team leaving, it's got to be heartbreaking for those fans."

Howe served as manager of the A's for seven seasons from 1996 to 2002.

The A's suffered losing seasons in his first three years before turning things around in 1999. From 2000 to 2002, Howe led the team to 91-, 102- and 103-win seasons, respectively, and made the American League playoffs in each season.

Despite his progressive success with the organization, Howe was released from his A's contract and became the manager of the New York Mets.

Earlier this week, A's fans put together a historic "reverse boycott" to prove to A's owner John Fisher and MLB that there are plenty of fans in the Bay who support the team. Those same fans have called for Fisher to sell the team to keep the A's in Oakland, but the push for a new ballpark in Southern Nevada appears to have overridden that possibility.

As a longtime MLB manager, Howe knows the political and business side of dealing with ownership and front-office personnel. He called it a "challenge," but made it clear that it's all about the fans, whose support and love for the team is more important.

It's safe to say a lot has changed his Howe's time in the East Bay, but the love and appreciation he has for A's fans will last forever.

"Just thanks for all the support they gave me and the team the years I was there," Howe said in a direct message to fans. "I can't thank them enough for everything they did for us. They lifted us up when we needed lifting. Total support all the time. Just want them to know that I love them."

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