Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the Athletics' plans to relocate to Las Vegas and Oakland fans' recent "reverse boycott" on Thursday as part of a press conference during the league's owners meeting. Perhaps predictably, he did not appear too sympathetic to Oakland's situation, nor did he seem particularly moved by the fans' effort to convince owner John Fisher to put the team up for sale rather than relocate them to Nevada.
"I feel sorry for the fans in Oakland. I do not like this outcome," Manfred told reporters, including The Athletic's Evan Drellich. "I understand why they feel the way they do. 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."
Casey Pratt of ABC7 subsequently reached out to the Oakland's mayor office for a response. He got one, with the Mayor's office calling Manfred's comments "totally false." Here's the full response, courtesy of Pratt:
As for the "reverse boycott," Manfred kept his analysis short. "I mean, it was great," he said, according to ESPN's Joon Lee. "It is great to see what is this year almost an average Major League Baseball crowd in the facility for one night. That's a great thing."
It's important to note that the A's attempt to relocate and build a new stadium near the Las Vegas Strip appeared to progress on Wednesday, as the Nevada Assembly approved the $380 million public financing bill the team sought. That bill still needs to be signed off on by Governor Joe Lombardo, and the A's relocation plans must be approved by the other 29 MLB franchise owners. If Manfred's tone is any indication, the latter would seem to be a mere formality.