Athletics express sadness, some relief at moving out of Oakland at the end of the season


DETROIT — The Oakland Athletics no longer have to wonder where they’ll play the next few seasons. That won’t make the long goodbye any easier.

The A’s reacted to the announcement that this will be their last year in Oakland with a mixture of sadness and relief.

“At least as a player, you know where you’re headed,” outfielder Seth Brown said Friday before a game against the Tigers in Detroit. “There’s obviously a lot of moving parts, a lot of stuff we’re not privy to, so it’s just been kind of a waiting game on our end. Where are we going to go? Where are we going to be? So I think just having that knowledge — at least we know where we’re going to be playing next year.”

Vivek Ranadivé, who owns the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, and Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher announced Thursday that the A’s will temporarily relocate to West Sacramento’s Sutter Health Park for at least three seasons. The A’s are moving to Las Vegas after a new ballpark is constructed.

The River Cats, who are affiliated with the San Francisco Giants, will continue to play at the same facility.

Fisher was unable to reach an agreement with Oakland city officials on extending the lease at Oakland Coliseum, which expires at the end of this season. The A’s have played in the city since 1968.

“There’s direction now, which we’ve talked a lot about,” Oakland A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “We’ve got time to kind of reflect on what this really means from an organizational standpoint, the history that we’ve had in Oakland, with this being now the final season. There’s a lot of emotion that goes behind this.”

It will not only cause some upheaval for the players and staff but also members of the organization that work behind the scenes.

“At the end of the day, we know where we’re going to be for the next three seasons after the finish this year and that in itself gives a little bit of stability,” Kotsay said. “At the same time, in the present, it’s challenging in certain ways to think about the finality of this organization in Oakland.”

Sacramento will be a much smaller environment to house a major league team. Ranadivé said the River Cats venue currently seats 16,000 when counting the stands, the lawn behind center field and standing room only.

First baseman Ryan Noda is concerned with the facilities. He’s hopeful that significant upgrades will be made, much like the Toronto Blue Jays did at Buffalo’s Triple-A facility. The Blue Jays played at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field in 2020 in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“New walls, new dugouts, new locker rooms — everything they needed to become a big league stadium,” said Noda, who played some games in Sacramento as a minor leaguer. “As long as we can do something like that, then it’ll be all right. But it’s definitely going to be different than playing in stadiums that hold 40,000 people.”

Kotsay is confident the upgrades will occur.

“I know it will be of major league baseball quality,” he said. “It’s has to be of major league baseball quality. I know the Players Association will make sure that takes place, as they did in Buffalo.”

For the rest of this season, the A’s will have to deal with small home crowds and disappointed fans.

“We’re sad for the fans, the diehard fans, who always come to our games, always support us, always support the boys wearing the jersey,” Noda said.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb



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