SEATTLE – Fans from around the world poured into T-Mobile Park during MLB All-Star Weekend, showcasing everything great about the game of baseball.
But there’s a franchise about 800 miles south of the West Coast that probably needed this All-Star break after an all-around brutal first half.
The Oakland A’s are changing as owner John Fisher continues to think about relocating his team to Las Vegas and fans share their frustrations and hope he sells the team to someone who doesn’t want to move.
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The A’s worst MLB record is 25-67, and the Oakland Coliseum has averaged just 10,089 fans per game.
As a kid from California, it’s hard for CC Sabathia, a six-time All-Star and Cy Young Award winner, to understand that the A’s are at this crossroads.
«I think it’s tough,» Sabathia, wearing a classic green A’s cap with a yellow trim, told Fox News Digital at The Players’ Party in Seattle hosted by the MLB Players’ Association, Lids and Topps.
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Sabathia grew up in Vallejo, California, about 40 minutes from Oakland, where the A’s have been a staple in the community. From ages 8 to 10, Sabathia watched the A’s reach three consecutive World Series from 1988-1990, winning them all in 1989.
And when Sabathia became the 20th overall draft pick out of the Cleveland Indians in 1998, the A’s were getting back to their winning ways after a rebuilding period.
But rebuilding isn’t the term for the A’s right now because that would mean gradually improving as the years go by. Over the last three seasons, their track record has plummeted to the point where they were 60-102 last year and have the lowest payroll in the league at $60.8 million, proving that Fisher and the front office are not on the same page. investing in free agent talent to improve the team. .
Instead, the focus remains on Las Vegas. While Sabathia is sad to see the team likely heading to Sin City, he has had to deal with similar moves before with his other favorite teams.
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«Obviously being a Raiders fan as well, being a Warriors fan, it’s tough for the city of Oakland,» he explained.
The Raiders moved to Las Vegas in 2020 and the Warriors moved to San Francisco in 2019 after Oakland didn’t offer them what they wanted.
«I’m excited about the prospect of the A’s going to Las Vegas and what it could mean for the franchise. Growing up as a kid from Cali, like I said, is tough. But I got used to the Raiders in Las Vegas, so hopefully let’s see». with the A’s.
Oakland losing its sports teams has been difficult for the community on several levels. For the A’s, the fans have done everything they can to persuade the organization to stay. They have even attempted a reverse boycott by filling the normally nearly empty seats at the Oakland Coliseum.
But within the organization, prospects like Lawrence Butler, the team’s seventh-best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, are excited for what the future holds no matter where the franchise is at the time they call it.
«It’s a good feeling because we have a good group of players in the minor leagues,» Butler told Fox News Digital while in Seattle for the All-Star Futures Game. “So we’re all excited. We can’t wait to get there.
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“I know it’s a bad narrative, but we can’t wait to go up and change the narrative. We have a full name for ourselves called ‘New Oakland’. So we’re ready to wait for the call, so we can go up and turn things around.»
Butler is expected to be called up to make his debut in 2024 with the A’s, and the team is expected to play next season at the Oakland Coliseum before transitioning to Las Vegas.
There are also young talents like top prospect Tyler Soderstrom and Mason Miller who could be just what this team needs to get back on track.
But it won’t be «New Oakland,» as Butler says. Everything will be new in Las Vegas.
Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo signed a Las Vegas stadium funding bill into law last month for the A’s, checking an important box indicating there is no going back on a move.
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The Las Vegas A’s stadium will not open until at least the 2028 season.