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MLB insider, exec slam ‘incompetent’ Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher over relocation saga

Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics received approval from Major League Baseball in November 2023 to relocate the team to Las Vegas, given until 2028 to pull off the move. Now, amid growing uncertainty for the future of the ballclub in Las Vegas and Oakland, A’s owner John Fisher is coming under fire.

When Fisher received approval from all 30 MLB owners to relocate the team to Las Vegas, the expectation was that he would provide a concrete plan for the move. Not only did MLB want to know exactly when the Athletics would relocate to Las Vegas, but there needed to be a definitive plan for where the A’s would play until then.

  • John Fisher net worth: $2.9 billion

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Instead, the relocation efforts have turned into a disaster. In January, the deadline for the A’s stadium renderings and financing plans for the new ballpark in Las Vegas passed. In addition, the team is still without a home stadium after the 2024 season with its lease with Oakland for the Coliseum poised to expire.

As more deadlines pass without any definitive answers from Fisher, MLB executives and even league commissioner Rob Manfred are becoming more frustrated by the drawn-out process. Now, the A’s owner is facing criticism from some of the most prominent voices in the sport.

During a recent appearance on Pardon The Interruption, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan didn’t hold back with his criticism of Fisher for the ongoing saga and shed light on the increasing doubts team owners have about the move including from those in the league.

“There are doubts everywhere about the A’s. Because here’s the one thing they have proven themselves adept, being completely incompetent. I was talking with somebody yesterday, doing a story on expansion, and the A’s came up because the A’s need to be in place in Las Vegas in order for MLB to expand to more teams. This person, whose been dealing with the A’s is like, “Do they know what they’re doing? Is this a joke?” The whole process has been messed up from the start…Now they’re going to go to Vegas and all of a sudden it’s going to be smooth sailing in a city that really hasn’t shown a lot of desire to have you? The entire thing from the beginning has been a disaster and if this thing fell apart, it would surprise absolutely nobody.”

Jeff Passan on the Oakland A’s relocation saga

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Manfred has defended Fisher in the past, saying the Athletics were given no “viable” path toward a new stadium in Oakland. However, even the MLB commissioner has expressed more public frustration over the prolonged uncertainty in recent weeks.

As relocation rumors hung over the A’s last season, the team finished last in average attendance (10,275 per game) and the Athletics were the only club that failed to crack 1 million total in attendance over 81 home games. The fact that Passan and someone close to the process are now speaking out against Fisher is another reminder that MLB is likely losing its patience with the organization.

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