SOUTH BRONX, NY — A baseball teams’ relocation is never easy. Fans dread hearing that their home team is thinking of relocating and worse, when the final decision is made that the team is moving to another state. I sympathize with Oakland fans who learned today that the Nevada governor signed a bill to fund new A’s stadium in Las Vegas.
The A’s presently considered the worst team in MLB and housed in what many agree is a dilapidated stadium might give everyone the impression that perhaps a move to a new location is the best thing for the team.
Unfortunately, the excuse to move a major league team is much more complex than the esthetics. Usually when a team decides to relocate the real reason is about money and the fans are the last thing considered.
In the 1990’s there was a lot of rumors about Yankee owner, George Steinbrenner being concerned about Yankee Stadium and wanting a new stadium. He was hinting that the Yankees deserved a new stadium.
Steinbrenner used the excuse of lower attendance of fans to Bronx games and a 500-pound piece of steel that fell prior to opening day 1998 to move the stadium. The then mayor, Rudolf Giuliani tried to get an approval to build a new stadium in Manhattan. That idea was quickly killed by everyone except the mayor and his investor friends. In 1998 I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, and it was published on April 26 detailing the hypocrisy and the politics of the city and the Yankees in threatening to move Yankee Stadium from the Bronx.
So, my message to the Oakland A’s fans is to remember that though fans should be the major reason for a team to remain in a city, that is no longer the case. Today, political, and economic factors unfortunately weigh more than us fans.
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