MLB commissioner says A's fans' reverse boycott doesn't make up for 'decade worth of inaction'

Oakland A's fans have been making last-ditch efforts to keep the team from moving to Las Vegas.

A few weeks ago, the fanbase pulled off a "reverse boycott" in which over 27,000 people flooded the stadium to catch an A's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Athletics have averaged fewer than 10,000 people per game this year.

However, it's very likely too little, too late, and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says the city of Oakland are to blame themselves.

Manfred said the day after the "reverse boycott" that he felt "sorry for the fans in Oakland," yet some thought his comments about the game drawing "almost an average Major League Baseball crowd" was sarcastic.

But at the end of the day, one night will not change "a decade worth of inaction."


Nevada governor signs new stadium bill as reality sinks in for A's fans

Republican Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo has signed a $380 million bill that will help fund a new baseball stadium on the Las Vegas Strip. Even with all the tailgating today, it was a very sobering day for A's fans.      

"My comment about Oakland was that I feel sorry for the fans, that it was my initial and -- preference that we find a solution in Oakland," Manfred said Friday when asked whether he had regrets about his remarks. "The comment that I made about the fans on a particular night was taken out of context of those two larger remarks: I feel sorry for the fans. We hate to move. We did everything we could possibly do to keep the club in Oakland. Unfortunately, one night doesn't change a decade worth of inaction."

Manfred's words echo his sentiments from last week when he said he did "not like this outcome."

"I understand why they feel the way they do," Manfred said last week. "I think the real question is, what is it Oakland was prepared to do? There is no Oakland offer. OK? They never got to a point where they had a plan to build a stadium at any site. And it’s not just John Fisher. . . . The community has to provide support. At some point, you come to the realization it’s just not going to happen."


Oakland A's snubbed by Nevada Legislature: the T-Shirt Rebellion

The Oakland A's activist fan base is stepping up the pressure to convince team owner John Fisher, that he should sell his team to an owner who truly wants the A's to be rooted in Oakland. 

Oakland city officials have called out Manfred, though, calling his words "false."

"There was a very concrete proposal under discussion, and Oakland had gone above and beyond to clear hurdles, including securing funding for infrastructure, providing an environmental review and working with other agencies to finalize approvals," Oakland's mayor, Shen Thao, said. "The reality is the A’s ownership had insisted on a multibillion-dollar, 55-acre project that included a ballpark, residential, commercial and retail space. In Las Vegas, for whatever reason, they seem satisfied with a 9-acre leased ballpark on leased land. If they had proposed a similar project in Oakland, we feel confident a new ballpark would already be under construction. Oakland showed its commitment to the A’s, and that is why the A’s belong in Oakland."

MLB is set to begin a months-long approval process for the Athletics' proposed move to Las Vegas. Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo last week signed legislation granting $380 million in public financing for a ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip.

The proposed $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark with a retractable roof would be close to Allegiant Stadium, where the NFL's Raiders moved in 2020, and T-Mobile Arena, where the NHL's Golden Knights started as an expansion team in 2017.

The A's have the worst record in the major leagues at 19-58. That's a 122-loss pace, which would shatter the modern-era record for the most losses in a season, currently held by the 1916 Philadelphia A's, who went 36-117. Their .247 winning percentage is on track to be the second-worst in the modern era. They aim to move to Vegas by 2027.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.