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After losing the Raiders to Las Vegas and the Warriors to San Francisco, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred warned Oakland leaders the A’s could be the next team to leave town.
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Manfred threatened city officials that if Oakland doesn’t drop its lawsuit over the proposed sale of Coliseum land to the A’s, it would risk losing the team to Las Vegas or some other city.
“He kind of laid down the law,” Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid told the Chronicle in a published report Sunday. “The commissioner pointed out that Bay Area fans will soon be going to Las Vegas to see the Raiders and that unless things changed, Bay Area fans may be going to Las Vegas or elsewhere to see the A’s as well.”
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The A’s negotiated an $85 million deal to purchase Alameda County’s half of 155 acres of Coliseum land it shares with the city, but last week the City Council filed a lawsuit to stop the sale. The city argued it wasn’t given a real opportunity to buy the County’s share of the land, which would give Oakland the right to determine future use of the property.
Nice of Manfred to present such an objective and nuanced overview of the situation.
Former commissioner Bud Selig used to say condescendingly when asked about the A’s ballpark situation, “It’s very complicated.”
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Did you know you can access The Chronicle’s photo archives?
Remembering the Leslie Salt Mountain: Bay Area’s odd, glistening landmark It is complicated, so team owner John Fisher should step up and answer a few questions to help A’s fans and Oakland citizens understand why they’ve been jerked around for a couple decades and why that jerking might end soon.
One question: If you need funds from a Coliseum development to fund the Howard Terminal development, won’t you need a third real-estate development to fund the Coliseum development? And then a fourth development to fund the third development, and so on?
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Deep thoughts, cheap shots & bon mots ...
• Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has known since before last spring training that he will need a new manager next season. Yet he’s making it sound as if he’s just starting to compile a list of candidates. As of a few days ago, “there is no favorite.” If Zaidi hasn’t had a list since last March, with a favorite, something is wrong.
• The 49ers are starting to attract national recognition. Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling picked his early front-runners for NFL awards. He’s got Kyle Shanahan for Coach of the Year, and Joey Bosa for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
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• Are the experts and some 49ers’ fans getting out over their skis? Maybe, but if you don’t get out over your skis, you’ll always be a terrible ski-jumper.
• Tom Tolbert’s got clout. He gets his boss, KNBR, to sign off on allowing him to work for rival 95.7 The Game, doing color commentary for Warriors’ home games. Tolbert will be a great sidekick for Tim Roye, but just once I’d like to hear a game called by Tolbert and John Madden. All sound effects, exclamations and guffaws.
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• Derek Carr’s defense of teammate Vontaze Burfict was heartfelt and sincere, but video doesn’t lie. Not everyone can play NFL football. Some guys are too small, too wimpy, too old, too unathletic. And some are unable to play within the rules.
• In Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, the A’s have a million-dollar infield tandem. Literally. Chapman made $580,000 this season, Olson $507,500. When they become free agents, the A’s might need five or six real-estate developments to sign ’em.
• Reality check: Players always say that big, rowdy home crowds fire ’em up. Carl Steward, retired Bay Area sports scribe, points out that the A’s were 0-4 this season when playing in front of their four biggest home crowds. Playing in front of their 23 smallest home crowds, the A’s were 17-6.
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• Hereby creating the Eck Award, named for Dennis Eckersley and presented to the player who shows the most grace in defeat. This year’s clubhouse leader is A’s wild-card starter Sean Manaea, who personed up Wednesday after getting lit up by the Rays. That level of maturity and poise will serve him well in the future. Also facing the music with dignity: manager Bob Melvin and his entire crew. There’s no whining in baseball.
• I saw video of Warriors forward Draymond Green dropping in a flurry of 3s in shooting practice. Sorry, but it looks like the same old Dray J — not enough wrist or elbow bend.
• The ping-pong table in the 49ers’ locker room, removed this year by order of Shanahan, is back, reports Santa Rosa Press Democrat football scribe Grant Cohn. So Shanahan is yo-yo-ing on ping-pong. Or is he boomeranging?
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• But shower shoes are still OK in the 49ers’ locker room, so at least Shanahan is not flip-flopping on flip-flops.
• Still wide open for business: Joey Chestnut, the Bay Area’s own eating superstar. Chestnut won the World Taco Eating Championship in Santa Monica. He scarfed 82 tacos in eight minutes, 12½ more than the runner-up, who can’t carry Joey’s barf bag.
• Fun fact: Joey Chestnut has never won a chestnut-eating contest.
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The Twitter feed @NBAOfficial posted a mini tutorial on traveling. Ex-ref Monty McCutchen explains the rule — The player with the ball is allowed two full steps after his “gather.” To demonstrate a legal step-back 3-point shot, McCutchen uses a clip of Portland’s CJ McCollum. To show an illegal step-back three, her-r-re’s Steph Curry! Apparently no video was available of James Harden.
The A’s, though, have said they need to be able to redevelop the Coliseum to help them pay for their privately financed new stadium at Howard Terminal. Manfred shares the A’s opinion — the Chronicle reported Manfred feels the Athletics’ ability to redevelop the Coliseum while building at Jack London Square is an “all in one” deal.
Manfred’s threat about baseball being willing to allow the A’s to leave Oakland may just be a strong-armed attempt to get the A’s back on track toward a new ballpark. After all, the commissioner has in the past rejected the idea of the team leaving Oakland, saying last year, “I believe that there is not another market in the United States that has the upside potential that Oakland has, and I think we would regret leaving Oakland.”
Nonetheless, Manfred’s warning has seemed to resonate with the city. Since the suit was filed, Oakland officials have shown a renewed desire to negotiate rather than litigate.
Related Articles Billy Beane, David Forst and Bob Melvin reflect on A’s early postseason exit Juiced Balls? New mindset? Home run records are breaking — and fans are asking why Former A’s ace Dave Stewart, who anchored 1989 champions, divulges secrets to postseason success ‘We call him the low-key GOAT’: A’s club option on Yusmeiro Petit may be easy money spent MC Hammer knocked for weak first pitch at A’s playoff game Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland’s City Council President, released a statement Thursday that read, in part, “in the interest of reducing strife and litigation, the Oakland City Council has unanimously asked our administration to meet directly with county leaders on strategies to resolve issues regarding our shared public property.”
The council, as well as Mayor Libby Schaaf, have indicated they’d like to figure out a plan for the Coliseum property that appeals to the A’s, the city and the county.