'Truly heartbreaking day': Fans take swing at A's decision to move to Vegas
OAKLAND, Calif. - After years of being promised that the team was ‘Rooted in Oakland’, A's fans took a swing at the decision on Wednesday to move the Athletics to Vegas, making public their frustrations and heartbreak.
"It’s devastating," said fan Mike Davie, who has been going to games since he was a kid. "I don’t really think they made a good faith effort to keep them here."
"It’s surreal. It’s a lot to take in," said Quintona Branch, a member of the Oakland 68’s. The Oakland 68’s are a non-profit community group described as "right field bleacher die hards." They bang drums and wave flags at home games.
"It’s shocking. Heartbreaking," said Jorge Leon with the Oakland 68’s. "And there’s anger, a lot of anger honestly."
Branch said the A’s are making a huge mistake, and doubts the team will find a fan base as dedicated in Las Vegas. "It’s a blow to pretty much the community and people’s wellbeing in the city of Oakland while we are already king of struggling."
The A’s would be the latest sports team to leave Oakland in just the past five years. The city already lost the Raiders to Las Vegas. The Warriors moved across the Bay to San Francisco.
"This might have been inevitable but it was still a blow that we were not expecting to happen yet. Especially when we just heard there was progress being made at Howard Terminal," said Branch.
"I can’t believe the team I learned to love as a kid, helped me meet my husband, & brought me so many good memories, is leaving Oakland for the dry desert of Las Vegas," wrote @jstemily on Twitter. "I hope the payday is worth it. Athletics you’ve broken my baseball heart. I’ll never be the same."
"I can’t handle this A’s news. Its so unfair," wrote @MrChris80 on Twitter. "We’ve put up with so much bullshit. For so long. And to rip this historic franchise out of Oakland hurts so much. I wanted to go to Oakland A’s games for the rest of my life, take my grandkids, etc. Just heartbroken."
The team said they had focused on securing a new home in Oakland for two decades and invested "unprecedented time and resources" to make it happen, but made little progress.
"The A's leaving Oakland doesn't sit right with me at all," wrote @JothamKitara on Twitter. "That's real heritage."
ALSO: Oakland A's sign agreement to purchase land for Las Vegas ballpark; mayor 'deeply disappointed'
"As an @Athletics fan, today is a truly heartbreaking day," wrote @parsa_s. "The A’s were the final hope for Oakland to keep a sports tradition alive, and losing them is devastating for fans and the community."
A’s will work with Nevada and Clark County on a public-private partnership to fund the stadium. Team president Dave Kaval said the A’s hope to break ground by next year and move into their new home by 2027.
Bryan Johansen, with Last Dive Bar – an online shop selling Oakland gear - said he remembers going to games in the 80s with his dad. He plans to cheer the team on til the end.
"This year we’re gonna party. We’re gonna party until the wheels fall off. And actually, they’re already off and we’re riding on rims as it is," said Johansen.