Report: Rob Manfred says comments about reverse boycott taken out of context

Jun 23, 2023, 4:00 PM

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks about the Oakland Athletics stadium deal....

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 25: Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media prior to a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants at American Family Field on May 25, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

After Oakland A’s fans led a reverse boycott, filling the Coliseum with over 27,000 people, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred condescendingly said it was “great to see what is this year almost an average Major League Baseball crowd in the facility for one night.”

Those remarks did not sit well with A’s fans, who are trying to get owner John Fisher to sell the team instead of relocating to Las Vegas.

Manfred went on to say that he feels sorry “for the fans in Oakland. I do not like this outcome. I understand why they feel the way they do.”

In that same series of comments, he blamed Oakland officials for the team’s eventual relocation, asking, “What is it that Oakland was prepared to do? There is no Oakland offer. They never got to the point where they had a plan to build a stadium at any site.”

READ MORE FROM SACTOWN SPORTS: Fan-made ‘SELL’ shirts from Oakland A’s reverse boycott game heading to Cooperstown

At that time, the Oakland Mayor’s office refuted that idea, telling ABC7’s Casey Pratt, “Oakland had gone above and beyond to clear hurdles, including  securing funding for infrastructure, providing an environmental review and working with other agencies to finalize approvals.”

Two weeks later, Manfred is walking back his remarks, at least what he said about the Oakland fans. Speaking to media in London for the Cubs and Cardinals series, the commissioner was again asked about the A’s relocation efforts.

According to Cubs beat reporter Meghan Montemurro, Manfred said his comment about fans “was taken out of context.”

“My comment about Oakland was that I feel sorry for the fans, that it was my initial and preference that we find a solution in Oakland. The comment that I made about the fans on a particular night was taken out of context of those two larger remarks. I feel sorry for the fans. We hate to move. We did everything we could possibly do to keep the club in Oakland. And unfortunately one night doesn’t change a decade worth of inaction.”

If the move happens, the A’s would be the first team to relocate cities since 2005, when the Montreal Expos moved from Canada to the U.S., taking up show in the nation’s capital and becoming the Washington Nationals.

Where do the A’s relocation plans stand?

Earlier this month, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo signed SB-1, formerly SB-509, granting Oakland Athletics $380 in public funding for an eventual $1.5 billion stadium along the Las Vegas Strip.

The only move next for relocation to become official is approval from 75% of  MLB owners. The Nevada state Senate and Assembly passed the bill after a seven-day special session to fine-tune the financing.

Las Vegas could be the fourth home for the franchise if MLB owners approve the relocation. The team originates from Philadelphia where they played from 1901-1954. The Athletics then moved to Kansas City until 1968, when they relocated to Oakland. The A’s lease with the Oakland Coliseum ends after the 2024 season.

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