The Oakland A’s Are an Embarrassment


(Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

By Isaac Dunaway, Sports Writer


The current state of the Oakland Athletics is nothing short of depressing. Since moving from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968, the A’s have seen plenty of success during their time in the Bay Area. They have been to six World Series, winning in 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1989. Many iconic names have played in Oakland, including Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Dennis Eckersley and Mark McGwire, among others.

This history seems obsolete nowadays. As of the time of writing this, the 2023 A’s have a record of 19-50, a winning percentage of .275. To put this to scale, of all the teams in the majors, only the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland A’s have a winning percentage below .400. The A’s could even break the record for the worst winning percentage in a season in the modern era. This record ironically is currently held by the 1916 A’s, when they finished with a 36-117 (.235) record, back when they played in Philadelphia. Simply put, Oakland is a historically bad team right now.

The on-field performance is just the start of the problems for Oakland right now. Relocation rumors have been swirling for the A’s for years now. This is largely due to their stadium, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The stadium opened back in 1966 and simply has not aged well. It has hosted both baseball and football throughout its history, meaning the foul territory is very large in order to have space for a football field. In 1996, the stadium was renovated, and added the unpopular “Mount Davis,” a grandstand in center field that blocks the view of the Oakland scenery. This was a good move for football to fit more fans, but the grandstand is a horrible view in center field when baseball is being played.

You can easily see the age of the stadium, and it isn’t even close to being the oldest stadium in the major leagues. While it’s currently the fifth oldest ballpark in MLB, it doesn’t have the charm that older ballparks like Fenway Park in Boston or Wrigley Field in Chicago have. This is in part because it hasn’t been maintained as well as those parks. Making the situation even worse is the fact that just across the bay is one of the nicest ballparks in the major league. Oracle Park in San Francisco opened back in 2000. Located on the shore of the bay, it is so close to the water that home runs frequently are hit into the bay. It boasts a beautiful, unobstructed view. The difference between the ballparks on each side of the bay really is night and day.

Because of the problems at the Coliseum, the A’s have tried, and failed, to strike a deal with the city for a new ballpark multiple times. The constant threat of relocation, the declining quality of the team and the poor maintenance of the Oakland Coliseum has led to extremely low attendance at A’s games in recent years. The A’s are dead last in MLB attendance this season, averaging just 8,555 fans per game. This is despite the Coliseum’s capacity of over 46,000, meaning they are averaging below 20% capacity this season.

A solution to all this seemed to be in place with the recent news that the A’s purchased land on the Las Vegas Strip to build a new ballpark. The proposed park would sit 30,000 to 35,000 fans and would be ready for the 2027 season, according to team president Dave Kaval. However, an agreement for public funding has not been finalized yet, as A’s owner John Fischer is known for his frugality. The A’s have become notorious for trimming payroll and trading star players rather than resigning them. In fact, in 2023 Oakland is dead last in payroll in the major leagues.

Fisher and Kaval are reportedly seeking $395 million in Nevada taxpayer money, but Nevada legislators are only willing to contribute $195 million, according to CBS Sports. The A’s need to have an agreement in place for a new ballpark by 2024, just six months away, with massive consequences if they don’t meet this deadline.

Despite a near-complete lack in ticket sales in recent years, the A’s still have been profiting a lot. This is mainly due to MLB’s revenue-sharing agreement, which allows teams to pocket $60 million annually from national TV deals. Combined with local TV profits of $40 million on average, each MLB team automatically makes around $100 million per season. If the A’s don’t have a deal in place for a new ballpark by 2024, they lose their spot in the revenue-sharing agreement for both the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

Even if the A’s get an agreement done for their Las Vegas ballpark and it opens in 2027 as planned, that somehow still doesn’t solve everything. Their current lease with the Oakland Coliseum expires after the 2024 season. It is very hard to see a scenario in which they stay on at the Coliseum in 2025 and 2026 before heading to Vegas in 2027. The A’s Triple-A team does play in Las Vegas, giving the A’s the possibility to play at the Triple-A park for a couple of years. The downside is that the Triple-A ballpark only seats 10,000 fans and would be the smallest ballpark in the MLB. Considering the A’s are lucky to see 10,000 fans at the Coliseum these days, it might not be too consequential. But if the A’s were to play in their Triple-A park, they would need to find a new home for the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators.

It’s hard not to feel bad for the people of Oakland, who have already seen two of their three major sports teams leave in recent years. Both the Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors left in 2019, heading to Las Vegas and San Francisco respectively. It seems the city is on pace to lose all three of their professional teams in less than a decade. That is, if the A’s can finally figure out a deal for a new ballpark at some point.


[email protected]