YOU TALKIN’ TO ME – MAY 15
By ISM Staff

WHICH MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM IS THE MOST LIKELY TO RELOCATE TO ANOTHER CITY?

Brooklyn and South Beach, I know that both of you are expecting me to say Miami or Tampa Bay but I’m going to call an audible. I believe the team you will see move to a new location is the Oakland Athletics and here’s my rationale.

First, the A’s are the “last man standing” in Oakland.  The Raiders have pulled up stakes and headed East to Vegas.  The Seals (yes, SB and BKLY, there was a National Hockey League franchise in Oakland for seven years from 1967 to 1976 probably before both of you were born) left town and went to Cleveland.

Second, because the Athletics are “flying solo” on the “bright side of the Bay” right now, they have no partner to gain any leverage with the city and/or county to replace the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium that’s 55 years old.  Hey, that ballpark is older than any of you, right?

Finally, Covid has not done the American League franchise any favors.  We all complain about our illustrious governor, Ron DeSantis, when he reopened the state of Florida on a way too soon timetable.  Well, California has a leader at the exact opposite end of the spectrum with Governor Gavin Newsom.  He has completely closed down “The Golden State” since the pandemic began in March of 2020 and refuses to move forward with any plan of reopening.  That has led to the governor facing a recall election sometime in the near future.  Because of this policy, the A’s have been severely limited on how many fans can attend a home game.  Borough Boy, that’s hitting ownership where it hurts and that’s in the pocketbook.  That will surely get their attention in a hurry, right .Miami Vice Man?

So, in my opinion, Oakland will be added to Philadelphia and Kansas City as former homes of the Athletics.  The bigger question, and I’m talkin’ to both of you on this, is where would they go and that’s a topic we may want to broach in a future column.

Well, boys, I hear you talkin’ but you’re missing the boat especially you, Low Ball.  You’re like Roulette in Vegas? You took black, in essence, when you wrote that the A’s will be the next to move. The red, in this analogy, is none other than the Tampa Bay Rays. These are the only two teams that play in decrepit, outdated stadiums that need a new home. Therefore, it is a veritable coin-flip as to who moves first.

The Rays have seemingly run out of options in both St. Petersburg, where the infamous Tropicana Field stands now, and Tampa, where the offers from the city to the Rays ownership were never close to a deal. South Beach, unless one of these owners wants to build their own stadium in their current cities, both of these teams are moving.

I don’t see the Athletics being the front runner to move, LB, or the Diamondbacks, SB.  I will say these teams are competing with each other to find the most lucrative deal for a stadium. Hey, there may not be any city willing to spend taxpayer money to court a major league baseball team right now, but perhaps there is. The Rays and A’s will try to find it and make a deal before the other, I bet.

The days when local municipalities want to utilize public dollars to help build stadiums that make money for millionaire owners may be over. The future deals, I imagine, would center on what cities will do to modernize the infrastructure and adjacent neighborhoods to potentially new owner-built-and-owned MLB stadiums. So, Low Ball, your wrong, yet again and, South Beach, you’re way off as well.  There is no front runner to move. The real question is where one of these teams will go? Get with it, LB!  You too, SB!

Gentlemen, and I use that term extremely loosely, sometimes you both make some good points and I have to hand it to you but you guys are missing an interesting situation. In Arizona, ownership has failed to secure public funding for a ballpark and instead the government has approved a 10% additional tax on all things sold in the ballpark to pay for renovations. Low Ball, are you ready for a future where you’re paying directly for ballpark renovations?

I mean, in reality, we always were paying for the stadium through our taxes which brings us to the situation in Oakland. But the issue isn’t only the stadium deal, it’s that Major League Baseball wants to build communities around its ballpark filled with shops and restaurants, plenty of fancy food for you, Brooklyn. Something tells me that they don’t think Oakland fits the deal.

So, yes, Oakland needs a new ballpark and the team definitely can’t afford it without public financing, but for some reason I think that MLB won’t be happy with Oakland even if that financing comes and will position for the team to move to a bigger city like Vegas.

So, Low Ball and Brooklyn, I’m talking to both of you.  Maybe we can go to opening day 2023 in Vegas together.