ARLINGTON, TX — Major League Baseball owners voted on Thursday, November 16, in favor of the Oakland Athletics to seek relocation to another city. The first step is now in place to conclude a battle that has raged since 2005 for the A’s to receive a new stadium and, now, a new city. This would be only the second time in 50 years that a major league baseball team relocated.
Almost twenty years have passed since the Expos moved to Washington, D.C. The last team to move before that was the Washington Senators when they packed up and moved to Texas in 1972. Each of these teams won World Series titles since their moves. The Washington Nationals won in 2019, and the Texas Rangers last October. The A’s have not won a championship since 1989, and with their current stadium needing renovations, maybe this is the logic behind the potential move.
If the A’s leave Oakland, it will be the second time in franchise history that the ballclub has changed cities. The A’s moved to Oakland from Kansas City back in 1968. Talks to relocate reemerged in 2023 when ownership said it would pursue two different stadium deals, one in Las Vegas and one in Oakland. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the MLB would waive its relocation fee if the team moved, a fee that would cost the A’s $300 million.
The backlash to the initial indication that the Athletics might move to Las Vegas was immediate. Fans urged A’s owner, John Fisher, to sell the team, and chants to “Sell the Team” could be heard on live television throughout the season. Oakland had the lowest attendance in the MLB in 2023 due in part to the fans’ feelings toward ownership and the poor quality that the Athletics put out on the field.
Oakland finished 50-112 last season and was far and away the worst team in the league. Frustrations continue to build as the Americal League West continues to produce World Champions. The Houston Astros won a title in 2022, and the Texas Rangers won in 2023. After Oakland’s stadium remained a ghost town throughout the earlier parts of the season, the fans organized a reverse boycott in which 27,000 fans packed the house to protest the potential move.
The A’s still need to finalize a deal to construct a stadium in Las Vegas. Plans that featured a 33,000-seat ballpark are in the works, but no deal is set in stone. According to ESPN, the new stadium will be located at the site of the old Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas and is slated to be built on a 9-acre parcel, which would be one of the smallest in MLB.
There still is no definitive answer on whether or not the Oakland A’s will leave Oakland as of yet, but the wind blows in that direction. Fans are unhappy, but at the end of the day, the A’s are Fisher’s team, and the owner will do what he wants with it.