It has been said by many more talented and knowledgeable people than me that the biggest problem with MLB owners is all they see is the next dollar, not the five farther down the line they could have, much less the next win. Oh sure, there are exceptions. Philadelphia’s John Middleton seems to get it. The recently departed Peter Seidler in San Diego did too. Other than that, they might be hard to find. Pretty much everyone else is eying whose grandmother or puppy they can run over to squeeze extra profit they’ll never actually notice from whatever’s on the other side.
So there was never any chance the owners were going to vote down John Fisher’s complete head-up-his ass, boondoggled moving of the A’s from Oakland to Vegas. There will come a time when any of these f*ckwits and failsons will want to hold their own city hostage, or even move like this, or have some proposal that will choke whatever morsel of soul is left in baseball, and they’ll need the approval of their fellow conniving giblets to do so. They long ago obliterated the looking glass of being stewards of the National Pastime, so much so that it isn’t the National Pastime anymore.
But even if you can ignore how big of an astronomic asshat Fisher may be, and if you can ignore the fact that Oakland was offering up more public money to build a stadium to keep the A’s in Oakland where they belong, and if you can ignore that the Howard Terminal proposal actually had the real estate grab/scam that all owners want that Fisher won’t get in Vegas, and if you can somehow ignore the way that Fisher has driven this team into the ground, and if you can ignore how one of the league’s most passionate fanbases was simply disregarded and discarded — and that’s so much to ignore that you should never be asked to do so — moving an MLB team to Vegas is a terrible idea! And MLB owners will hate it quite soon!
MLB owners just voted to allow a team to be moved to what will be the league’s smallest market, for a team to play in the league’s smallest stadium. They could spend three seasons as vagabonds with no home other than their own Triple-A stadium or as unwanted guests in other people’s stadiums before they even get there. The entire plan hinges on thousands of people, 81 times a year, deciding they want to fly to Vegas in the middle of summer to watch their team three times. Or that enough people will travel to Sin City regularly enough to sell out a three-game series if everyone just would rather trudge to this edifice of idiocy and greed in the heat just once. This is the plan.
By 2023 numbers, if the A’s sold every single ticket to their 30,000-seat stadium in a sauna for most of the year, they would finish 17th in attendance. They will not sell every single ticket.
Which means this team that the owners just voted to allow to embark on this pirate ship to oblivion and heat death will soon be propping up this team with revenue-sharing money. They’ll be paying for it. In fact, they already are. And perhaps that was Fisher’s plan all along, concluding to himself where no one could see that he’s far too stupid and incapable of monetizing anything around a ballpark and thus would have turned any ballpark village into a testament to his own imbecility.
Even if TV deals are a thing by the time the A’s crawl out to the desert already in desperate need of water — it’s likely by then the league may have taken over everyone’s by then as is their wont — they will not be getting much of a deal to service the 40th-largest TV market in the US.
This is a vote to make for a basket case of a franchise the day it starts in Vegas, and maybe even negative three years. It’s obvious to say that the A’s are already a basket case, though Fisher basically made them that way. But what would have worked better? The tiniest ballpark in the tiniest market in a climate inhospitable for getting to the park or sitting outside? Or a gleaming new park right downtown that included far more of a footprint for Fisher and revenue streams in the nation’s 10th biggest market, in one of the wealthiest areas in the country? Isn’t it just possible, with all of that, that the A’s might have become the big market team that the Bay Area suggests they should be? Well, not under Fisher’s ditch-focused guidance, but under someone with a few neurons that fire at the same time? Did anyone think the Giants were a big market team before they moved into their palace in downtown San Francisco?
Fisher isn’t going to start spending big when they get to Vegas. Not drawing 15,000-20,000 per game as they assuredly will. Not with anything else lining his pockets, as he might have gotten with his sought-after “ballpark village” at Howard Terminal. All he’ll have is the team he hates and a ballpark that can’t get him enough. But of course, his plan is assuredly to sell it the minute the stadium is complete and make it someone else’s problem. Or he’ll just continue gobbling up revenue-sharing money while he pays for nine guys who had been holding a dice stick just an hour before the first pitch to take the field.
MLB owners will be bailing this team out from Day 1. And owners hate revenue sharing, which is why they try to take it out on the players every time the CBA expires. More than a few will openly wonder why they’re sending money to a team that doesn’t use it to try to be competitive in a market that they just chose to allow him to be in. They just voted to have another Pirates, another Reds, another Marlins. You can be sure that owners in New York, Boston, Chicago, L.A., and San Francisco will be wondering why they just did what they did very soon.
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