The A's are leaving Oakland and long-time Baltimore fans know how A's fans feel

There was some news around baseball on Thursday that had nothing to do with a free agent signing, a trade, or an award.

Major League Baseball's owners voted unanimously to approve the move of the Athletics from Oakland to Las Vegas.

The team currently known as the Oakland A's will someday play in a ballpark along the Las Vegas strip that has not even begun to be built yet. And apparently the financing for this park is not finalized. We don't even know when the A's will stop playing in Oakland. They have a lease at Oakland Coliseum for the 2024 season. Yep, the fans of this team in Oakland could attend games of a team they know that will one day abandon them. They probably feel abandoned already.

It's sure not a great situation. The A's could play for several years in various locations, even possibly in the Triple-A stadium where the Las Vegas Aviators now play, about 15 miles or so from Las Vegas.

The last time an MLB team relocated was in 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C. to become the Nationals. 

In the early 1900s this team was the Philadelphia Athletics. Beginning in 1955, the Kansas City Athletics and since 1968 the Oakland Athletics.

From 1972-74, the Oakland A's won three straight World Series titles, beating the Orioles in the AL Championship Series in 1973-74 along the way.

Those were great A's teams with memorable players like Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando, Bert Campaneris, Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace, Vida Blue and Catfish Hunter.

After they lost 102 and 112 games the last two years, it can feel like the A's have been perennial losers. That is not true. They won 97 games and made the playoffs in 2019. Two years ago they won 86 games.

Most of us certainly have no real expertise, background or much knowledge probably about what has really happened in Oakland. Why did the Coliseum become such a horrible stadium? Why could they not find a solution to build a new one? Is this mostly about a greedy owner?

How one answers these questions is probably very subjective.

For fans of the Orioles of a certain age, they no doubt still can remember when the Colts and a terrible owner, Robert Irsay, abandoned Baltimore for Indianapolis. They stole away in the middle of the night and a town that once loved and worshiped those horseshoes was jilted. It hurt and for a long time. 

The A's are abandoning Oakland. Not in the way Irsay did it here, but the hurt must feel the same. Long-time fans of the Baltimore Colts probably can't help but have empathy right now for an A's fan in Oakland. Especially long-time A's fans that remember the days of Reggie and the boys.

There was Billy Ball. There was Ricky Henderson. The Bash brothers. A lot of wonderful times there.

I saw where a fan group in Oakland put out a statement calling for a boycott of the 2024 Oakland A's season. A spokesman for the group said, "they are abandoning us, and we should now abandon them."

How can we disagree with that? The hurt is real and why should any A's fan spend another dollar on a team leaving town?

Eventually the team will play in Las Vegas and probably be quite successful. Full disclosure here, I've made quite a few vacation trips to Vegas and love the place. I've become a fan of the Vegas Golden Knight hockey team and if you want a memorable sports experience, go see a game at T-Mobile Arena. One reason I was most comfortable with becoming a fan of that team was that it was an expansion team. I certainly don't root for the Raiders in any way, shape or form. But the hockey team, as they say there, was "Vegas born." 

But this is not about the future of this team today, but its past. Feeling bad for fans hurting through no fault of their own. 

Baltimore eventually got the Ravens. They have two Super Bowl wins since 2001. In 39 seasons since 1984, Indy has one SB title. 

So, I guess the A's will have one more season in Oakland. Local groups will try last-ditch efforts to save the team, but MLB has spoken. The team will be moving.

Some fans outside of Oakland may say "if you don't support your team, they may leave you." But no doubt it's much, much more complicated than that. When the Colts left us, we heard similar sentiments about the fans here. It wasn't true then and it's not true about Oakland fans now. 


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