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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Column: Sacramento Sacrilege

Kwong Yee Cheng via Flickr
The Oakland Coliseum, the current home of the Oakland Athletics. The A’s will be moving to Sacramento for the next three years, before permanently relocating to Las Vegas in 2028 or 2029.

If you even passively follow Major League Baseball (MLB), you’ve probably heard that the Oakland Athletics are planning a move to Las Vegas.

It’s funny, then, that the A’s will be playing baseball in Sacramento for the next three to four years, in a 10,000 seat minor league stadium.

Now I’ve had plenty of problems with the A’s planned move to Vegas over the past year or so , but their three-year layover in Sacramento is truly the cherry on top of countless awful ownership decisions.

The A’s owner, John Fisher, has made his hatred of Oakland clear: his organization refused a $12 billion waterfront stadium complex that Oakland and California bent over backwards to offer the team, put a truly terrible product on the field (110-214 over the past 2 seasons) then said fan support was gone in Oakland because people didn’t want to watch that bad of a team, and took a much smaller deal to move to Vegas despite it making much less sense as a media market.

But the Sacramento stopover? It’s truly hilarious. Instead of working out something temporary in Oakland (which admit tedly wouldn’t be a great idea; no one in Oakland wants to watch a team this bad already) or getting a head start in their new Vegas market (where the A’s Triple-A affiliate already plays, mind you) they decided to go and rent a stadium that was never designed for a big-league team to call it home in an entirely separate market. 

I really can’t see this move going well. The A’s have never spent money on a team, but at least in the “Moneyball” era they made the most out of that payroll. Now, though? They don’t seem to even want to compete, having done very little to make their major league roster better. I honestly don’t think anyone in Sacramento will be going to an A’s game to watch the A’s. Sure, maybe they’ll show up when the Yankees or the Cubs come to town, but something tells me that an A’s-Rays matchup in mid-July is going to look like a ghost town.

This brings me to the broader problem of the A’s move to Vegas: They are hemorrhaging fans.

First, by alienating Oakland and blaming low fan enthusiasm for their problems, they are hurting and driving away their existing fanbase. Then by making a temporary move to Sacramento, they aren’t really making an effort to capture any new fans from the area; they’ll be gone in three years anyways, so what’s the point in attaching yourself to the team? 

Finally, there is the nightmare that is Las Vegas, a city built off of tourism and… not much else. The National Football League’s Las Vegas Raiders, who, like the A’s, moved from Oakland to Vegas, have already felt the impacts of playing in such an environment. In an October game against the Green Bay Packers, Raider fans were outnumbered by Packer fans in the stands.

That’s the problem with playing in a city entirely built on tourists: people come to the game from all over to see the other team play, but support for the actual home team is built off of Vegas natives who just aren’t that into a mediocre team that relocated from elsewhere.

That’s not even to mention that the Raiders are far more likely to attract legacy fans from Oakland; their departure was far less messy than the A’s, and they only play eight or nine home games a year, which makes it a little easier for lots of people to travel to see a game at once. Those games mostly fall on Sundays, too, while the A’s 81 home games are scattered across all weekdays, making travel much more difficult.

By completely losing their native fanbase, and moving to a city with less-than-ideal prospects for building a new one, John Fischer is truly setting his team up for failure. Whatever fans who are left will suffer when an already bad team fails to make much money, and the league as a whole will suffer when the A’s can’t afford to put a passable product on the field.

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About the Contributor
Jake Pfeiffer
Jake Pfeiffer, Editor-in-Chief
Jake Pfeiffer is a senior, entering his third year on the Central Times staff, this time as Editor-in-Chief. Jake joined CT as a sophomore because he wanted to write news, but since then he has grown to love just about every element of journalism. While it is rare to see Jake anywhere other than the CT office, occasionally you can find him captaining Central’s debate team, watching baseball, listening to a seemingly endless amount of podcasts or drowning in college applications.
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