MLB commish says his “preference” is keeping A’s in Oakland, decide for yourself what that means

MLB Rob Manfred gave one of his patented mumble-mouthed comments about the Oakland A’s stadium situation yesterday:

I want the A’s to stay in Oakland. It’s a very fundamental policy of baseball. We favor franchise stability. I think it is possible to get a stadium done in Oakland, and that remains my preference.

That could be a statement of commitment to building a stadium in Oakland, or it could be a veiled threat (he said Oakland is his “preference,” so that implies a Plan B, right, people?), or more likely, it could be a way of just ducking a question asked by the L.A. Times’ Bill Shaikin.

The question was actually about whether MLB would consider moving the team to San Jose now that that city’s lawsuit has crashed and burned, but there’s never been any evidence that MLB was going to force the San Francisco Giants owners to name a price for allowing the A’s to go to San Jose (deemed Giants territory, and no, I really don’t want to get into the historical reasons why, thanks), and so, yeah, no surprise here. There will likely be stronger (if not necessarily clearer) words from Manfred eventually, but if so they’ll be prompted by whatever A’s owner Lew Wolff decided to push for, not what a newspaper writer decides should be news.

4 comments on “MLB commish says his “preference” is keeping A’s in Oakland, decide for yourself what that means

  1. A’s / Raiders / San Jose / Oakland / Inglewood / Carson is a game of musical chairs where chairs disappear and reappear, sometimes with signs on them that say, “X cannot sit here”.

    Now that San Jose’s lawsuit is kaput, I believe everyone is awaiting on the Raiders’ fate to then determine what opportunities the A’s have.

  2. For me, I believe the business model for professional sports team no longer works for a city like Oakland. In reality, the location is too close to San Francisco and its difficult for the A’s to financially compete with the Giants.
    I have advocated the A’s moving to Sacramento because that will provide them with greater market control. They can build a stadium for much less of the cost, and the current Sacramento media market is 20th in the country. Should portions of Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties become part of the A’s media market, it would easily place them in the top ten watched baseball markets in the country. Also, given that Sacramento isn’t too far away from the A’s current home, and easily accessible via many transportation mediums, I envision a new A’s stadium in Sacramento selling out on a daily/nightly basis.

  3. JC:

    There’s certainly some truth to that. Like Buffalo, Oakland has sort of been left behind as a major league market.

    That said, with the Warriors relocating and the Raiders (as Mark suggests) perhaps on their way out too, this may change. I think Oakland has the ability to support (and subsidize, which seems to be a prerequisite these days, sadly) one pro team.

    I believe from a financial perspective an MLB team works better than the NFL in a smaller market partly because of the shared revenue situation, which the NFL also has. It is also true that the cost for a new facility for MLB will be about half that of the NFL. On the revenue side, whatever revenues do accrue to the city from the stadium (I wouldn’t hold my breath…) should be significantly greater from a 35k seat stadium used 80+ times a year than from a 50-60k facility used 8-10 times.

    Who knows what will happen, but in my book the A’s are the best bet for the city to hang on to one pro team. It is harder to see how the Raiders staying (either with the A’s or with the A’s moved elsewhere) works financial for either the club or the city.

  4. I understand your opinion. However, I no longer see Oakland as a sports city. The proximity to San Francisco, makes it all the more difficult for the A’s sports franchise to survive competition against the Giants. Like many sports franchises, the A’s need to find a market they can control. That is plausible in Sacramento.