As the Athletics continue their efforts to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and A's fans around the Bay Area are sending out one final plea to keep the team in the East Bay.
Thao sent a letter to over a dozen MLB owners on Wednesday and explained why they should reject A's owner John Fisher's attempt to move the team to southern Nevada. The A's relocation vote is expected to take place during the owners' annual three-day meeting next week in Arlington, Texas, with passage requiring at least 75 percent approval.
In the letter, which was obtained by ESPN, Thao detailed the amount of public funding Oakland has secured for a new ballpark.
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"The proposed funding assistance for a new stadium development is thus nearly triple the $380M the A's have reportedly secured in Las Vegas, for a much smaller stadium project," Thao wrote. "… There is a clear path to build a state-of-the-art new ballpark here in Oakland, and to do so just as expeditiously (if not more so) than in Las Vegas."
The letter was sent to a mix of large-market teams, such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, along with smaller-market teams, including the Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners.
"The A's are reportedly counting on hundreds of millions of dollars of relocation fees to be waived as part of this move," Thao wrote. "Not only would this require MLB owners to make a major financial sacrifice, it might also create a precedent that could cause other teams to seek similar considerations. … And moving the A's to Las Vegas would remove the market from eligibility as a potential expansion site, closing the door on the hefty expansion fee (expected to amount to $2B+) a new Vegas-based team could contribute.
"In sum, we believe that keeping the A's in Oakland while evaluating an expansion opportunity in Las Vegas is by far the most lucrative path for MLB over both the short and long term."
Accompanied by Thao's personal and heartfelt letter was a "Stay in Oakland" box filled with A's-related items, including a green A's cap and a personalized baseball card of each of the 15 owners.
This summer, A's fans held multiple "reverse boycotts" at the Coliseum to send a message to Fisher to sell the team. Even "sell the team" chants broke out at opposing ballparks during the 2023 MLB season.
But with the vote set to take place soon, this appears to be the final hope for keeping the A's in the city they've called home for the last 55 years.