This Is Your City on Leftism: Oakland to Lose Its Last Major Sports Franchise as Athletics Shift to Vegas

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Oakland Athletics, who claim to be a major league baseball team, announced Wednesday: “The A’s have signed a binding agreement to purchase land for a future ballpark in Las Vegas. We realize this is a difficult day for our Oakland fans,” all five of them, “and community.” Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao underlined the team’s statement by revealing that the city was “ceasing negotiations” with the A’s on a new ballpark. The move is going to take a while: the Athletics don’t expect to be playing in Vegas until the 2027 season, but it does appear certain that woke Oakland is about to lose its third and last major sports franchise.


The NBA’s Golden State Warriors crossed the Bay to San Francisco in 2019, and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders fled to Las Vegas the following year. The A’s statement noted that they’ve been trying without success to get a new stadium in Oakland: “For more than 20 years, the A’s have focused on securing a new home for the Club, and have invested unprecedented time and resources for the past six years to build a ballpark in Oakland. Even with support from fans, leaders at the city, county, and state level, and throughout the broader community, the process to build a new ballpark in Oakland has made little forward progress for some time. We have made a strong and sincere effort to stay here.” They’ve been trying to get permission to build a deluxe new ballpark at Howard Terminal on the Bay, as the rival Giants did so successfully with Oracle Park in San Francisco.

Thao, however, disputed that the team had been operating in good faith, saying:

I am deeply disappointed that the A’s have chosen not to negotiate with the City of Oakland as a true partner, in a way that respects the long relationship between the fans, the City and the team. The City has gone above and beyond in our attempts to arrive at mutually beneficial terms to keep the A’s in Oakland. In the last three months, we’ve made significant strides to close the deal. Yet, it is clear to me that the A’s have no intention of staying in Oakland and have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas. I am not interested in continuing to play that game – the fans and our residents deserve better.


Thao could be right. A’s owner John Fisher is a billionaire, but when it comes to his baseball team, he is parsimonious in the extreme. A’s fans have grown dispirited seeing the organization again and again build a good, playoff-level team, only to trade off all the players once they are able to command large contracts. It is likely that Fisher and his cohorts bear a lot of blame for the demise of major league baseball in Oakland. But there is no doubt whatsoever that, despite Thao’s indignant protestations, the city bears a great deal of the responsibility as well.

After all, it isn’t just Fisher: the city has now lost three major sports franchises within the span of five years, and that takes some doing. When I lived in the Bay Area, the Oakland Coliseum was (minority view here) quite appealing, with a fine view of the Oakland Hills until 1995, when the infamous “Mount Davis” luxury boxes were built to accommodate the Raiders. The neighborhood around the park was quiet and pleasant. The A’s on a sunny Saturday afternoon was a marvelous day out. But in June 2017 I took a trip down memory lane and went back. The area had deteriorated markedly. Waiting for an Uber after the game was a dangerous adventure in a dirty and dingy area. Going to the Coliseum was now more risky than pleasant. Rising crime and homelessness have made whole sections of Oakland areas that most people prefer to avoid.


Related: The Death of Moneyball

Clearly, the A’s couldn’t stay in their deteriorating Oakland neighborhood, which has doubtless gotten much worse since 2017. But the Leftists who run the city made the search for a new ballpark a Kafkaesque adventure in bureaucratic hurdles, making the team jump through a dizzying number of hoops. After spending years attempting to certify that its new ballpark wouldn’t harm the environment or increase global warming or heighten racial inequalities or offend transgenders or whatever, the A’s have given up and set their sights on the more business-friendly environment of Las Vegas.

If the current regulations and restrictions had been in place throughout the existence of California, it never would have become an economic powerhouse in the first place, and as long as they’re in place, it won’t continue to be one indefinitely. The departure of the Athletics from Oakland mirrors the general exodus from a state that Leftism has picked clean. It’s a sorry end to a magnificent legacy: I’ll never forget Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman, Rollie Fingers, and the other Oakland A’s heroes of my youth. But that was a very different time, both in Oakland, and in the entire United States.



Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member