Editor’s Note: Major League Baseball owners are scheduled to meet Nov. 14-16 in Nashville, during which time they are expected to vote on the A’s proposed move to Las Vegas. Andy Dolich, whose five-decade career as a pro sports executive spanned the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, including a 15-year run with the A’s, sent this letter to 29 major league owners. (A’s owner John Fisher was not included; nor was MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.) For the A’s to move, 75% of the owners must vote their approval.
It is my understanding that MLB team owners are moving closer to voting on the A’s relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas.
From 1980-1994 I was the VP of Business Operations under the Haas family ownership when the Oakland A’s were winning games, filling seats and exemplifying the very best of teamwork, leadership and trust throughout the Northern California market.
Relocating this franchise to Las Vegas would be a major mistake for Major League Baseball and all of its franchises, including the A’s for years to come.
Oakland, the Bay Area and Northern California have seen 80 million A’s fans pass through the turnstiles of the Oakland Coliseum to see the A’s win four World Series, six American League pennants, and 17 AL West titles.
It seems as if Major League Baseball is about to approve the A’s desired move from the sixth-largest metro in the country to the 40th.
The Athletics franchise became an essential part of the hearts, minds, souls and philanthropic programs of the community. You can add in Billy Ball, Krazy George, Charlie O the Mule, Stomper the Elephant, colorful uniforms, a mechanical rabbit, White Shoes, Moneyball, Dot Racing, the Drummers, a Press Box possum and multiple Hall of Famers.
Why is MLB approving and promoting a move from one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the country to one of the least when baseball’s percentage of African-American players is shrinking every year? Why would MLB abandon a community that has produced Frank Robinson, Curt Flood, Vada Pinson, Joe Morgan, Willie Stargell, Rickey Henderson, Dave Stewart, Jimmy Rollins, Marcus Semien and many others? They have been major forces promoting diversity in every way for baseball and daily life in Oakland, Northern California and beyond.
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Why is baseball letting a team relocate to Las Vegas when the commissioner has advocated two expansion franchises with a price tag of $2.2 billion dollars? Shouldn’t Las Vegas be a prime candidate for expansion instead of relocation?
Why did MLB originally state the A’s would have to pay $500 million dollars to relocate to Las Vegas and then reverse the decision to no fee?
Why did John Fisher get the Nevada legislature to give him $385 million dollars of taxpayer support when he has categorically stated that 100% of his new ballpark project and beyond would be 100% privately financed? Where is the remaining billion dollars-plus coming from to build a domed ballpark in Las Vegas and rebuild a once proud franchise?
Three years or more playing in an outdoor Minor League ballpark with stifling temperatures. What will Tony Clark and the MLB Players Association have to say about that?
John Fisher has owned the A’s for 18 years. He bought the team for $180 million. As of today Forbes Magazine has it valued at $1.2 billion dollars, 28th of the 30 MLB franchises. Many sports economists believe that his play is totally focused on increasing his net asset value. If the A’s ever have heavy equipment digging out a ballpark foundation anywhere, his dysfunctional franchise team could double in value.
These are also bottom-line economic reasons why the A’s should never leave.
* Northern California — 7 million
* Las Vegas, 29th — 2.2 million
* Many of the workforce in Vegas are part of a 9-5 market. They go to work at 9 PM and get off at 5 AM
* The Bay Area is sixth. Las Vegas is 40th.
* Per capita Income — San Francisco Bay Area fourth. Las Vegas 84th
The Oakland Coliseum
* The site can be completely leveled and rebuilt as a sports, housing, entertainment and retail magnet similar to what the Giants have created at Mission Bay.
* Two baseball teams won’t work in the Bay Area. Yes, they can. In 1990 and 1991 the Giants and A’s outdrew the New Yankees and Mets. In 1988, ’89, and ’90 they outdrew the Cubs and White Sox by 2.6 million fans. The A’s current attendance crater is completely self-inflicted through convoluted logic that they can’t draw without a new stadium. Fisher has benefited from MLB profit sharing for years while decimating his roster and destroying the team’s fan base.
We understand that the color of the fluid which flows through the veins of sports is green. How soon do your consultants show significant monetization from legalized betting to your bottom lines?
We ask you and your colleagues to think through this relocation decision which will inject red ink into the transactional arteries of Major League Baseball for years to come.