Athletics fans can’t get closure over when or if their team will leave

OAKLAND — If it’s closure Athletics fans are hoping for, the Coliseum wasn’t the place to find it Tuesday night.

Their team wants to move to Las Vegas, but it’s a long way from shovels in the ground. Their team is open to the idea of extending the lease in Oakland until that proposed stadium is built, but a morning meeting between the club and city officials brought nothing close to a resolution.

Then there’s the involvement of Sacramento, which has entered the fray on some level with the idea of a being a temporary home at Sutter Health Park — home of the Triple-A River Cats — until Las Vegas becomes a reality.

Sitting in a beach chair with a cold beverage, wearing an A’s hat and and a green “Sell” T-shirt, Dave DeMartini of Marin openly wondered if he’d be back in 2024. A friend who’s a Red Sox fan gave him a ticket, but he’s joined the fan boycott otherwise.

“This might be the only game I go to,” DeMartini said. “I’m a fan of anyone who puts on an A’s uniform. But these players are being used. They’re being manipulated by ownership and (Commissioner Rob) Manfred is green-lighting all this. They’re doing everything they can to turn everybody away. I don’t know why they would want to be here next year. They’re doing everything they can to turn off fans.”

The parking lot on the 66th Avenue side was short on tailgaters 90 minutes before the 6:40 p.m. first pitch against the Boston Red Sox. Championship Plaza, which in past years was a popular destination for food trucks, cornhole and live music, has been shut down under the direction of owner John Fisher and team president Dave Kaval.

Nate Pitcairn of Alameda has been a careful observer of the stadium saga and isn’t ruling out the A’s ending up in Oakland next year and beyond.

“Honestly I think they’ll be here,” Pitcairn said. “You want to give Fisher the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he’s doing, but it doesn’t seem like he does. There are extenuating circumstances that for them to move out of Oakland would get n the way.”

Nate Pitcairn of Alameda, with his “Sell” flag flapping in the breeze, discusses the A’s Coliseum dilemma. Ross Cameron for the Bay Area News Group

Pitcairn reference a television deal that could cost the A’s $67 million even if the move was in-state to Sacramento for 2025.

George Martinez of Oakland bypassed opening night for the first time in years, and also said he was attending on a free ticket with a friend. He’s torn on whether to go see the A’s in Sacramento or Las Vegas, and hopes A’s ownership simply isn’t capable of pulling off a deal anywhere else.

“I hope it falls apart, and they have to come back with their tail between their legs,” Martinez said. “That’s what I hope every day.”

A Raiders season ticket holder for 15 years, Martinez said he hasn’t been to Las Vegas but instead goes to see his team at other sites as a visitor.

A man who wanted to be identified as “Bill P.” drove the nearly four hours from Redding with his wife and two young daughters, who were attending their first game.

“I think the city of Oakland and A’s management has screwed it up royally,” Bill P. said. “Seems like a lot of money has been wasted between trying to move the ballpark to Howard Terminal and other sights.”

While fans twist in the wind, the A’s are more concerned with playing an errorless game and players are trying to keep their foot in the door in the  major regardless of the site.

“It’s our job as players to be as adjustable as you can, whether it’s in-game adjustments or being where your feet are in the big leagues,” outfielder JJ Bleday said. “Triple-A, Double-A, wherever you’re going to be, it’s just trying to eliminate all the noise and focus on what you’re doing that day.”

Third baseman J.D. Davis, on grew up in Elk Grove so he is intrigued by the Sacramento option even if it may not include him after signing a one-year contract.

“I grew up going to River Cats games when Eric Chavez was there,” Davis said. “I’ve seen my fair share of A’s go through Sacramento. I’m not against it.”

Still, Davis and the team itself is in its protective cocoon with an eye on taking care of business and staying in the big leagues.

“We don’t have a say or date or any idea of expansion or what locales are more ideal,” Davis said. “We just kind of show up and do our jobs. I know in my experience of being in Sacramento if it being a good city for the A’s, but facility-wise they need some more renovations.”

A’s manager Mark Kotsay has enough on his plate to worry about taking on heaping helpings of relocation speculation.

“It’s not even a thought I let myself wonder about, really,” Kotsay said. “I mean, we’re here this year. We’re playing a full season and nothing changes about that.”








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Author: Jerry McDonald