Last week, I wrote this article regarding MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s rather cavalier dismissal of A’s fans after their “reverse boycott” game.
In a news conference in London before the Cubs/Cardinals London Series, Manfred did it again. The quote in the article is via Chicago Tribune Cubs beat writer Meghan Montemurro:
Speaking at London Stadium on Cubs-Cardinals workout day, Commissioner Rob Manfred was asked if he regrets anything he has said about Oakland A's fans: pic.twitter.com/eNwbbELoq9— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) June 23, 2023
Here’s the full quote:
“My comment about Oakland was that I feel sorry for the fans, that it was my initial and preference that we find a solution in Oakland. The comment that I made about the fans on a particular night was taken out of context of those two larger remarks. I feel sorry for the fans. We hate to move. We did everything we could possibly do to keep the club in Oakland. And unfortunately one night doesn’t change a decade worth of inaction.”
Oh, Rob. Please. It was not “taken out of context.” The original quote:
Manfred on the reverse boycott by fans of the Oakland Athletics— Joon Lee (@joonlee) June 15, 2023
"I mean, it was great. It is great to see what is this year almost an average Major League Baseball crowd in the facility for one night. That's a great thing."
“almost an average Major League Baseball crowd.” If that’s not dissing fans I don’t know what is.
The rest of Manfred’s London quote isn’t true either. It’s been clear for the last couple of years that A’s owner John Fisher wanted to move. Ticket prices were raised and Fisher’s baseball ops people traded away almost everything of value, to the point where the A’s are now 20-58 (THROUGH FRIDAY), on the way to possibly being the worst team in MLB history. He feels sorry for fans? After one of his bosses (Fisher) did everything possible to drive A’s fans away and then says “We hate to move. We did everything we could possibly do to keep the club in Oakland.”
As noted in my article from last week, that isn’t true either:
The Oakland's Mayor's office released a statement pushing back against Manfred's assertion that there was no offer from Oakland pic.twitter.com/nZuTELlvAL— Joon Lee (@joonlee) June 15, 2023
The situation with the A’s has been mishandled for years. The best solution for the team would have been to have the Giants give up their iron grip on San Jose as their “territory” and let the A’s move there, as they had wanted to do more than a decade ago. Having the A’s in San Jose would have solved their issue and likely helped baseball in the Bay Area in general.
Now the Giants are getting the Bay Area to themselves and the A’s head toward what I believe will be an uncertain future in the No. 40 TV market. Their attendance projections are laughable (they’d have to sell out basically every game, every year) and where TV money is going to come from is uncertain.
Fisher and Manfred got their way. The best thing they could do now is probably not to say anything else about it.