OAKLAND, Calif. - Oakland A’s fans are reacting after Major League Baseball voted unanimously to move the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas Thursday morning.
The Oakland 68’s, one of the Oakland A’s fan groups, were frustrated by the outcome. They gathered at Quinn’s Lighthouse Restaurant on Oakland’s waterfront Thursday evening.
For these super fans who have been fighting for months to avoid this outcome, disappointment is an understatement.
"You’re leaving a void in the Bay Area," said Jorge Leon, president of the Oakland 68's, a non-profit organization focused on volunteering for the community and supporting local sports.
"Today is an incredibly difficult day for Oakland A’s fans," said John Fisher at a press conference after the vote in Arlington, Texas.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Coliseum just doesn’t cut it anymore.
"At some point, a facility deteriorates to the point that it’s just not a major league facility and, if you look at the situation objectively, we really had no choice but to move on."
Manfred said they tried everything to make a deal in Oakland.
"I am absolutely convinced that there was not a viable path forward in Oakland."
However, the Oakland fan base isn’t buying it. Leon said he met with Fisher personally and tried to convince him to keep the A's in Oakland.
"He has not actually tried as much as he said," said Leon.
"They had this great rooted in Oakland campaign, but it just seems very disingenuous now," said Chris Dobbins from Save Oakland Sports.
"When you go to an A’s game, it’s not ‘let’s go A’s,’ it’s ‘let's go Oakland,' because there’s so much pride attached to the city being attached to the team name," said Gabriel Cullen, a member of the Oakland 68's.
Mayor Sheng Thao said at a press conference on Thursday that she’s going to keep fighting for the home team and she is still hopeful the A’s will stick around.
"Oakland remains very open to MLB conversations around possible expansion teams and keeping the A’s name here in the city," she said.
The official move to Vegas is not until 2028.
The A’s have a lease at the Coliseum until 2024. Manfred said the MLB is exploring staying in Oakland and re-signing their lease until the Vegas stadium is ready, but fans said the loss is so devastating, that they would not support the A's or return to games in the interim if the A's did officially move.
"There’s still four years out to get the stadium in Vegas. There are still options," said Dobbins.
The Oakland 68’s said they’re planning to boycott the season opener in March. They want Fisher to sell the team.