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The A’s Just Want To Be Wanted

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 26: The Oakland Athletics play against the Texas Rangers in front of nearly empty stands at RingCentral Coliseum on May 26, 2022 in Oakland, California. Attendance at Oakland Athletics baseball games have dwindled to historic lows as the team has traded away fan favorite players and continues to explore moving the team to Las Vegas if they can't reach a deal to build a new stadium near the Port of Oakland. The Athletics have the lowest attendance of all 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) as well as the league's lowest single game attendance for a May 2nd game that only drew 2,488 fans. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

There is not-quite-not-but-almost news from the Oakland Athletics as they continue their increasingly frantic search for a reason why Las Vegas should care about them, and that is this from the absolutely non-biased/no rooting interest local outlet Vital Vegas: stadium talks are happening.

The A's have been desperate for the Vegas hierarchical structure to pay attention to them since the city plunked down all that love, attention, and money on the Raiders and got in return a fabulous stadium and a white elephant football team. That desperation hasn't yielded much so far: "It’s not really our job to go out and beg them to come here," said Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft last week. The A's, whose mascot actually is a white elephant that aptly describes its role in the infrastructure of Major League Baseball, apparently have wrangled another meeting with civic movershakers to discuss locations for a new $1 billion retractable domed stadium, which raises four immediate questions:

1. Who wants the meeting, the team or the town?

2. Who's suggesting sites, the team or the town?

3. Who's coming up with the jack, the team or the town?

4. Who in their right mind thinks a retractable domed stadium is going to cost only one billion American dollars?

This really boils down, as it always has, to how the A's can gin up interest in a town that has a hockey team it loves, a football team that brings in tourists 10 extra weekends a year, and a basketball team it should love most of all. So far, the A's have drawn nothing but seven-deuce every time because, well, they're the A's.

Things might be different if the Vegas folks asked the A's to come down, or if the Vegas folks suggested sites that would work as well as the piece of property on the south side of the Strip that already has been earmarked for the Vegas LeBrons, or if Vegas came bearing money. None of these things are apparently happening in that way, so this actually more closely resembles the time the A's tried to annex a community college property in Oakland only to have the community college folks point out that the land was actually not available because the college was still using it.

That, though, has been the A's plan all along: make suggestions for action in hope that someone will bite, and then retreat when no bites are forthcoming. There are always folks in any town who would love to have a baseball team even in this distressed market, but they tend to lack either the real estate or the cash to make it happen, and the A's situation is even more complicated with a new mayor in Oakland (Sheng Thao) who sounds a lot like the old mayor (Libby Schaaf) when it comes to the baseball team.

In other words, the A's are trying to make news that would result in someone making news on their behalf, which isn't the way to get either top dollar, middle dollar, or any dollar. So we're about where we were a year ago, and three years ago, and really 15 years ago, and it can't be any cheerier now that Arte Moreno has yanked the Los Angeles Angels off the market because he couldn't get an offer worth his attention, or that the regional sports business that powers many teams looks like it's going the way of the St. Louis Browns. The A's remain the barfly who can't get anyone to spring for a drink, let alone money for a down payment on the bar. But it's nice to see they're still devoted to the idea of making Las Vegas love them even though Vegas is probably the worst place on Earth to hunt up a relationship.

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