Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game heard A’s fans chanting “Sell the team!”, but we’re also now learning of a secret meeting between Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred before the game — though Manfred balked at Thao’s case.
If you watched Tuesday night’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, you surely noticed that those uniforms were absolute trash, and that Giants closer Camilo Doval earned the win by throwing a scoreless ninth inning. But Oakland A’s fans may have noticed a few other things. The A’s elephant mascot Stomper was not included among team mascots, and that plucky A’s fans had engineered a couple of “Sell the team!” chants directed at team owner John Fisher at various points in the game.
One of these chants was indeed audible on the Fox television broadcast (seen below) when A’s outfielder Brent Rooker batted in the sixth inning. The chants were far louder inside the stadium.
But there was another All-Star weekend development that was not on television, and we’re just learning of it now.
As the A’s proceed with their plans to move to Las Vegas, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao apparently had a secret meeting with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Sunday in Seattle, the site of the All-Star Game. And as seen in the tweet below, she brought 30 bound copies of a report detailing everything Oakland had done to build the A’s a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, a response to Manfred’s demonstrably bullshit claim last month that “There is no Oakland offer, OK? They never got to a point where they had a plan to build a stadium at any site.”
Equipped with a small pulley cart loaded with 32 thick documents, Mayor Thao wheeled Oakland's plans to keep the A's into a private meeting room and proceeded to clear the air with MLB's top officials. https://t.co/4Dvpu4X0po— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) July 12, 2023
Thao sat with the Chronicle for an interview after the secret meeting, and described that the 30 copies were for the 30 MLB owners, who would have to approve the relocation. “I think with the recent comments in the public from the commissioner about Oakland not having a proposal or not having anything, that’s just false,” Thao told the Chronicle. “So, for me, it was important that all the owners — and specifically the relocation committee and the commissioner himself — heard from me directly that there was a proposal, showing them a proposal, and giving them the copies.”
As for the meeting itself, Thao said, “it was a private meeting, so I’m not going to get into the details.”
But it does not sound like Thao made any progress. At a Tuesday Baseball Writers’ Association of America luncheon, Manfred was asked about the proposed relocation. “My single biggest disappointment is that because of the kind of political process in Oakland, we didn’t find a solution to keep the A’s in Oakland,” he said.
Manfred seems to be confusing a “political process in Oakland” with the A’s determination to leave. A separate Chronicle op-ed declares that “Manfred is not acting as ‘Commissioner of Baseball’ in all this. He is functioning as John Fisher’s defense attorney, filtering the facts."
Oakland’s best hope here is for the Las Vegas deal to fall apart (which it still could). But Mayor Thao is perhaps trying to work a different set of umpires — the 29 other team owners — who may prefer Fisher sell rather than run the consistently lowest-payroll team in baseball that he has since taking ownership in 2016.
Image: OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 13: Fans of the Oakland Athletics take part in a reverse boycott before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at RingCentral Coliseum on June 13, 2023 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Rays 2-1. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)