Nos. 4 Dave Kaval and Rob Manfred
Has a friend of yours ever bailed on plans he/she had with you, and given an excuse along the lines of: “I’d love to come out, but my significant other wants me to stay in?” You know their partner doesn’t care whether or not they go out. It’s obviously just an excuse to attempt to shift the blame away from themselves and onto someone you can’t be upset with. It’s an attempt to save face that falls flat.
That’s essentially what happened with the Oakland Athletics last month. Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval tweeted out a message on May 11 claiming that Major League Baseball had “instructed” the A’s to start exploring other markets.
First off, Major League Baseball can’t force a team to look at other markets. Unlike any of the other “Big 4″ sports leagues in America, MLB can reject a team’s desire to relocate, but that hasn’t happened in the last 100 years. This was a blatant attempt to put pressure on the city of Oakland to approve the proposed budget for their waterfront stadium. But how would the A’s be able to keep the support of their fans if they threaten to leave? Enter MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. By creating a false narrative that MLB was essentially forcing the Athletics’ hand, and instructing them to explore other markets, A’s fans were led to believe that the Athletics had no choice, and only had the city to blame for their beloved team’s potential departure. It’s a move so devilish, so sneaky, so clever, but just like the Great Wizard of Oz, the charade becomes evident if you just pull back the curtain a little bit.
It’s no secret that Kaval has wanted to leave RingCentral Coliseum (formerly Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum) for years. As a whole, the Athletics have been attempting to get out of that eyesore of a ballpark for decades now. What earns Kaval and Manfred the title of ‘Idiots of the Month’ is the blatant attempt to deceive the team’s fans, and put the city on edge almost without warning.
To further the audacity of Kaval during this situation, while his A’s were playing at home against division rival Seattle, he tweeted out a video of a roaring crowd in Las Vegas cheering for their NHL team — the Vegas Golden Knights — for Game 5 of their playoff series against the Minnesota Wild.
While the team he works for was playing, Kaval couldn’t resist sending a subtle middle finger to the city of Oakland, basically saying “I want to move the Athletics to Las Vegas, and I will if you don’t approve my plans for the waterfront ballpark I want.” Kaval even said publicly a day after posting that tweet that the A’s and the city of Vegas were on “parallel paths,” essentially confirming that the tweet was intentional and was supposed to be a punch in the gut/wake-up call/slap in the face to the Oakland City Council.
There will be a vote by those pols on July 20th that will determine the fate of the Athletics’ proposed waterfront ballpark at the Port of Oakland within Jack London Square. It will most likely be approved. Kaval is holding all the cards in this situation, but at what cost? The team’s fans have begun to see through Kaval’s thinly-veiled threat to relocate. For a team that claims to be “Rooted in Oakland.” Kaval seems content with leaving the city behind. He’s never cared about the city of Oakland or his team’s fans. He just wants a brand new, shiny toy for his team to play with.