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The A’s’ Vegas Deal Might Be Falling Through Already

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 21: A view shows the Las Vegas Strip behind the site that the Oakland Athletics agreed in principle to purchase from Red Rock Resorts Inc. for a potential new ballpark on April 21, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The A's President Dave Kaval said the deal for the 49-acre plot of land, formerly the home of Wild Wild West Gambling Hall & Hotel, could be used to relocate the Major League Baseball franchise from Oakland to Las Vegas. The team will now work on a public-private partnership to build a USD 1.5 billion, 30,000-to-35,000-seat, partially retractable-roof stadium in time for the 2027 season. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Now don't you all feel like a bunch of charlies for thinking the Oakland Athletics were finally moving to Las Vegas? I mean, did you forget who they are, and by that we mean who the contemptibly unconvincing nitwits are who run them?

Of course you did, so of course you do. A's owner John Fisher and his oleaginous parrot Dave Kaval have done this no-bait-and-switch scam so many times that by now they must not even be able to convince their own bathroom mirrors that they have found a neighborhood that wants them.

The latest development in this hamster wheel of news is the team's search for alternate Las Vegas sites to the site they already said they'd agreed upon buying—a “binding” agreement—based on the likelihood that they wouldn’t be able to pay back the loan they want from the state of Nevada for allowing them to build the stadium nobody in Nevada seems to care that they might inhabit.

It is essentially the same thing Fisher and Kaval have done repeatedly: announce that they have picked a site for their new baseballatorium and await the people who own the site to gift it to them on the theory that a press release written with enough sadface emojis somehow has the force of law.

The fact that they are still miles away from being miles away from a solution that is still miles away from funding puts them miles away from Fisher's likely end game, which is to dig a hole and then sell the team to some even dimmer speculator. This explains why taking any A's stadium press release as anything other than a whimsical waste of pixels is the act of a fool. They have delivered nothing because they've got nothing, which is less embarrassing than their continuing to remind us of that fact by pretending that they have something.

The debate about where the A's end up is entirely about Fisher's failure to make his possession attractive. If this was the first or even the fourth time the A's had announced a plan and followed it up with a new plan, maybe it would be worth heeding. But the last announcement strained credulity, and within two weeks had to be amended because the only thing Fisher and Kaval are good at is announcing what they want. They are your kids with a publishing deal for their Christmas lists.

And with the rich possibility that Nevada legislators will let this deal die because the A's are so woefully short on a page two for their page-one announcement, we will be back to our own original position of looking at them at square one like a board game with a one-sided die and only two spaces, labeled Move Forward One Space and Move Backward One Space.

The only real solution that ends this Moebius strip of fecklessness is for Fisher to sell the team at its pre-stadium valuation, an option he has so far been unwilling to entertain. But we saw how much effort and time it took to evict Danny Snyder from his self-created sty, so just finding someone with more money than sense is barely adequate preparation, even as it is the very essence of A's development plans.

Against all this, the team itself is stuttering along, 21 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays after only 36 played, and on pace to finish 94 games out. It might be more likely that the A's finish 36-126 with their pitching as it is than the Rays finishing 130-32, but no matter how the on-field mashup finishes, A’s players and coaches are still having a better year than their boss, and will almost surely continue to do so. At least Brent Rooker and Esteury Ruiz and Ryan Noda and Carlos Perez and JJ Bleday can say they are accomplishing something. I mean, there's not good, and there's laughably bad, and then there’s nothing at all.

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