Playing for the Oakland A’s hasn’t been glamorous for years. In 2024, it could be downright weird – NBC Bay Area


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Catcher Shea Langeliers made a little room to put down a mug of coffee in his storage locker, after that gingerly reversed, cautious not to interrupt the valuables of colleagues JJ Bleday and Max Schuemann that were all stuffed right into an edge of Oakland’s springtime training club.

Playing for the Athletics over the previous couple of years hardly ever has been glamorous — at the very least by MLB requirements.

In 2024, it could additionally be downright weird.

The Athletics — readied to relocate to Las Vegas at some time around 2028 — are encountering a lame-duck period at the Oakland Coliseum, which held several of the tiniest groups in current MLB background in 2023. The A’s have actually consulted with Oakland city authorities regarding expanding the club’s lease past 2024, yet absolutely nothing is specific at the minute.

“I think if you focus on that, it can affect you,” Langeliers claimed. “The main goal is just to focus on baseball and what you can control. That can get away from you sometimes. I think every player in here will tell you their focus is on the field.”

But the franchise business’s unsure future sufficed of a subject that supervisor Mark Kotsay — together with group head of state Dave Kaval — got on hand at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa for a 45-minute group conference on Monday, which was additionally the group’s very first full-squad exercise.

“We talk a lot about distractions and this group has been through it to a certain extent last year,” Kotsay claimed. “We did address the unpredictability of the ’25 period, yet inevitably, these men are below to play baseball and have a lengthy job, whether that’s in Oakland or Miami, for that issue, the video game doesn’t change.

“The circumstances are what they are.”

Kotsay said he wants to make sure players know his office is open if there are questions, though to be honest, he does not have many answers at the moment. It’s unclear whether the franchise will play its 2025 home games in Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco or a minor league stadium in Las Vegas.

The team reached an agreement with Bally’s and Gaming & Leisure Properties to build a stadium on the Tropicana hotel site along the Las Vegas Strip, and the Nevada Legislature approved $380 million in public financing last June for a $1.5 billion stadium that the team wants completed for the 2028 season. MLB owners unanimously approved the move in November.

But the next few years could be rocky.

“We’re very transparent,” Kotsay claimed. “When we get information, we pass it along to the players. You get more information than I do, probably.”

From a purely baseball perspective, the A’s hope they’re a franchise business on the rise following a brutal 112-loss season. They’ve got a young nucleus of hitters that includes All-Star slugger Brent Rooker, speedster Esteury Ruiz and Langeliers, which improved over the final few months of the season after a rough start.

The A’s also added a few veterans to the pitching staff, hoping that Ross Stripling and Alex Wood can help stabilize a rotation that includes JP Sears and Paul Blackburn.

Oakland has had one of the league’s lowest payrolls over the past several seasons under much-maligned owner John Fisher, and this one will certainly be no exception. But until the past few years, the A’s have found a way to have at least moderate success, making the playoffs in six of nine seasons from 2012-2020.

Rooker is a bit of a late bloomer by baseball standards, coming off a 30-homer period that helped the 29-year-old become a first-time All-Star and the latest in a long line of sluggers for the A’s. He has enjoyed his time launching dingers in front of Coliseum fans — regardless of whether it’s in the hundreds or thousands.

The A’s averaged 10,276 fans per game last year, easily the lowest number in MLB.

“The fans that come are as loyal of fans of anything as you will find anywhere,” Rooker claimed. “They are incredible people. Just from a personal standpoint, you get to know a lot of them. There’s a group in right field that I talk to and hang out with when I’m out there. They’re really, really fun people.”

But there’s little doubt this is a difficult split. And the longer this long goodbye takes, the more awkward it could get.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged last week that the situation wasn’t ideal. The A’s have been in Oakland since 1968, and their generations of fans aren’t going quietly.

“The reality of the situation is that whenever you’re leaving a market where you’ve been for decades and you’re going to make a move to a different city where there’s not a stadium, that’s a really difficult undertaking, and it’s not going to be seamless, smooth,” Manfred said. “There’s going to be bumps along the road.”

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