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ESPN's Jeff Passan: "There is Doubt Everywhere About the A's"

The A's will need to make tangible progress soon or else their relocation efforts could fall apart
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One way or another, the Oakland A's plan to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas will have a resolution sooner rather than later. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic is questioning the move. Jeff Passan of ESPN has been more vocal of late. Heck, ESPN has even talked about the A's twice in two weeks, and baseball isn't exactly a sport the network covers frequently. 

Most recently Passan made an appearance on Pardon the Interruption to talk about the upcoming baseball season and the topics that were discussed were the big four free agents that are still on the market, Juan Soto as a long-term fit for the Yankees, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stepping down in five years, and the A's relocation. That's how big of a topic this has become. 

Host Tony Kornheiser asked Passan, "Are there doubts among the owners about the A's [relocation]?" Passan laughed, then while still chuckling, replied, "Tony, there is doubt everywhere about the A's. The one thing that they have proven themself adept at: being completely incompetent." 

"The whole process has been messed up from the start. Dating back 20 years to them trying to get a stadium in Oakland, failing to do so, and 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, Tony, has been a disaster. If this thing fell apart, it would surprise absolutely nobody." 

The lack of enthusiasm that Passan touches on has been seen in some of the replies on social media in recent days. First, the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweeted out their article about the team's Triple-A park no longer being in consideration as a temporary home, and the replies ranged from, "can we rescind our approval for them to come?" to, "we want an expansion team, not crap from Oakland like the Raiders." 

In a similar post from Las Vegas Locally that came complete with an AI image of a nondescript Vegas A's baseball player and the caption "Bad news. The Oakland Athletics probably won't play in Las Vegas until 2028" the replies were of a similar sentiment. "Why is that bad news? I don't think anybody wants them to play here ever" was one. "Bad? Depends who you ask" was another.

This comes on the heels of the mayor of Las Vegas saying the A's should stay in Oakland at the beginning of Super Bowl week. 

It's not just bad publicity that is making things feel like there needs to be a resolution. There are actual timelines at play, too. The Tropicana hotel-casino, the site that the A's proposed ballpark would sit, has announced a closing date, and Bally's, who run the hotel, will need to move forward with a plan with or without the A's in the near future. 

MGM, which sits across from the Tropicana, is also waiting on the A's and Bally's to figure out the ballpark situation before they can begin their own renovations. MGM is a big player in Vegas and keeping them happy would be a good idea. 

In short, the A's are going to have to start clearing some hurdles in the coming weeks. Howard Stutz of the Nevada Independent was told weeks ago by Dave Kaval that the long-awaited ballpark renderings could be coming during Big League Weekend when the A's play the Milwaukee Brewers in Las Vegas on March 8-9. 

That would be one public hurdle that the team could clear, but they still need to finalize a financing plan and get all of their documents in order with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority. Those have also been delayed since December. 

These are all factors for getting the move to actually happen, but there is still the pesky little question of where the team will play from 2025-27 once their lease runs out at the Coliseum. The Athletic reported Friday that Sacramento was the frontrunner, while the Review-Journal said hours later that the team is focused on staying at the Coliseum, then moving to Vegas. 

Here's the thing: Oakland isn't going to be a source for either of those stories, so they had to come from the A's and/or MLB. Maybe the A's, who feed Mick Akers of the LVRJ consistently, gave him the Coliseum story, while MLB told The Athletic about Sacramento since that is their preferred option. That's pure speculation, but two outlets having different intel? Wires were crossed somewhere. 

Either way, the entire relocation saga is a mess, and it needs to be cleaned up soon. If it's not, then the A's may be looking for a long-term home as Bally's continues with their own project and the funding for the A's ballpark that is tied to the site disappears.