Wolff to Oakland: “buh-bye!”

Lew Wolff has given what seems like the final kiss-off to Oakland:

The Oakland A’s have “exhausted” their time and resources with the city of Oakland in a search for a new home, and have “no interest in covering old ground again,” A’s owner Lew Wolff said in a statement released Friday . . .

. . . “We have fully exhausted our time and resources over the years with the city of Oakland, dating back to previous A’s ownership,” he said in the statement. “We recognize conditions have not changed. Letters to Major League Baseball offer nothing new or of any real substance. Outside stimulation to have us continue to play in an aging and shared facility may generate press and ‘sound-bite’ opportunities, but do not provide any tangible alterations in the circumstances we face.”

I’d still like to blame Al Davis for this. True, the Athletics have never drawn stellar crowds in that ballpark, but one can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the A’s could have cozyfied their formerly mixed-use facility the way the Angels did a few years ago. After all, before the addition of those hideous outfield seats to accommodate football, the Coliseum was actually a pretty pleasant place to play. Would some additional upgrades during the original dotcom boom have rendered the A’s the hot ticket they never became? We’ll never know.

In other news, baseball officials may be flirting with Vegas again. Or, at the very least, wanting people to think that they are:

The Oakland A’s are reportedly looking at Las Vegas as a bargaining chip.

There was buzz Sunday that baseball commissioner Bud Selig was meeting with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and A’s executives.

We’ve been over this before, but I’m going to continue to beat this horse until people stop trotting it out: Vegas is a non-option. All together now:

There too many home games in baseball for Vegas to be able to hype it up like it does boxing and other one-off events. Casino interests would not be supportive, because, given that the profits to be had on slot machine pulls > the profits to be had on hot dogs, they are not going to empty their floors of 30-40,000 potential customers 81 nights a year. Also, a disproportionate number of Las Vegas’ population works nights, so locals aren’t going to form a big part of the paying and viewing fan base. Finally, given the sheer size of its housing bubble, its subsequent deflation, and the economic carnage currently afoot, the Las Vegas economy is in no position to be courting, let alone supporting baseball teams.

Sin City is fun to talk about, but it’s simply not going to work as a baseball town any time in the foreseeable future.

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  1. Aaron Moreno said...

    More importantly, if a team actually moved there, then what city would other teams use as a threat to get a new stadium?

  2. kendynamo said...

    i think vegas is still going to be a tough market for a major league team, but i think the idea and the vegas perspective selling point, is that the city and local population has grown enough to where it can support a pro sports team, which would have a fan base consiting of locals, and not market the team so much to the tourists. 

    but yeah, i agree with Aaron.  MLB wont let vegas get a team until every other frnachise has extracted a publically funded stadium from thier current locales.

  3. Charles Kitchen said...

    I’ve always thought Mexico City would be a good move. Make a very large stadium with alot of relatively cheap seats. It has a fairly large business community that could support boxes, I think.

    I have never been to Mexico City, so what do I know.

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Only problem is that Mexico City is like 7,000 feet up, so it would make Coors Field look like Petco.  That and the fact that Mexico is slowly devolving into a civil war between the government and drug cartels.

  5. APBA Guy said...

    Actually, filling in the Mausoleum’s outfield made the park a little better for powewr hitters. The ball carries better now, and the swirling aspect of the wind has been reduced.

    There is a lot of speculation here that the current ownerships’ blunt rejection does not mean that the two sides (Oakland and the A’s) are not talking. There’s nothing wrong with the current site, but there is everything wrong with the A’s deal and the age of the stadium. Al Davis got a good chunk of the parking and concessions at the A’s games because the city gave in to him. The A’s are only now improving their local TV deals.

    It’s problematic that a team could thrive in Las Vegas. The stadium would have to be domed, and to make it work would require about $500M-$600M. That’s non-trivial in today’s economy, and beyond the means of A’s ownership. Vegas would have to help in a major way.

  6. Justin said...

    The A’s are Manny, the Bay Area is the Dodgers and Vegas is the Giants… just sitting out there, waiting and hoping that one side or the other becomes so jaded that things fall apart…  But, in the end, we all know where Manny is going to end up.

  7. Will said...

    What if their home schedule were almost entirely day games? Locals could go to the games before work and casinos could have luxury boxes for their VIP guests to spend the day in, promotions to give away good seats to regular folks, ample advertising opportunities, etc.
    Anyway, don’t the Cubs already have a day-heavy home game schedule?
    None of which negates the economic stuff you cite, but isn’t that happening just about everywhere else that could support an MLB team?

  8. kranky kritter said...

    Much as I love baseball, I have for some time yearned to see cities begin to say “you want a new stadium, you build it yourself. You wanna move? Be our guest.”

    Not saying this is actually possible. But if there is ever going to be an economic climate in which a city can comfortably and safely tell a franchise that the trough is closed, this is it.

    The way I figure it, if Vegas gets a team, it would have to be housed in a Casinodome that allowed people to gamble while they watched the games. Or they could have the field and one level of free seats outside, forcing fans into the air-conditioned comfort of the seats that are for gamblers only. grin

  9. Mike said...

    Actually, in the 1988-1992 Bash Brothers heyday, the A’s drew very well, with a peak of over 2.9 million in 1990. Before AT&T;park was built, the A’s consistently outdrew the Giants, even when the teams were both contenders.

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