Athletics Reaction

Donaldson refutes perception A's are small-market team

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Josh Donaldson is the latest former Athletics player or manager to speak about the organization's potential relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas.

The former A's third baseman spoke to the New York Daily News' Gary Phillips on Monday about the Oakland fanbase and why he believes the A's are perceived to be a small-market team.

“I feel like I don’t know what the best solution is for everything,” Donaldson said. "But I know that the fanbase in Oakland, like the diehards there, they show up every day with support and love that team. As an organization throughout the years, I don’t know how much they’ve tried to build a fanbase.”

“You’re talking about one of the largest markets in baseball in the Bay Area,” Donaldson said. “It gets perceived as a small-market team, but it’s only a small market because of what the team is willing to put out there. One of the wealthiest owners in all of baseball owns the A’s."

Originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the 2007 MLB Draft, Donaldson made his major league debut in a brief 14-game appearance with the A's in 2010. The young third baseman played in the minor leagues for the entire 2011 season before finally breaking through and establishing himself as an everyday player for Oakland in 2012.

From 2012-2014, the A's posted records of 94-68, 96-66 and 88-74 with star-studded rosters that featured sluggers like Donaldson, Yoenis Céspedes, Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie, Coco Crisp, Brandon Moss and Jonny Gomes along with starting pitchers Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon, Sonny Gray, Brandon McCarthy and relievers Grant Balfour, Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins.

Those A's rosters had an abundance of star power, most of which either was traded away or signed elsewhere in free agency in the years to follow. Donaldson believes A's fans can only take so much roster turnover before their fandom starts to waver and that should the team relocate to Las Vegas, it should not operate by the same model if it hopes to grow the fanbase again.

“There’s a lot of different decisions out there that are going on, and to me, it’s in the realm of running it according to business and trying to break to a net zero," Donaldson added ... "At the end of the day, as a fan and as a fanbase, you can only see your favorite player traded so many times throughout your generation.

“If you’re going to relocate and still kind of run the business the same way, I don’t think you’re going to get people to buy in. I hope they’re going into this with a different mindset from a business standpoint.”

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Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo recently signed Senate Bill 1 into law which provides $380 million in public funding for the A's $1.5 billion ballpark project on the Las Vegas Strip, a big step toward relocation. The A's now will apply for relocation, which will be voted on by the league's 30 owners before any move is made official.

If the team's future indeed is in Las Vegas, Donaldson and many other former A's players and coaches hope that the grass is greener for the franchise and its passionate fanbase.

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