As the A’s and Oakland fight about a lease, the Raiders plan to tear the Coliseum down

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As we’ve chronicled for the past couple of weeks, the A’s and Oakland are engaged in all kinds of drama about the planned ten-year lease for the team to continue playing in the Oakland Coliseum. It’s all fraught with intrigue and strategy and bluffing and posturing. But maybe it doesn’t matter:

While the A’s are trying to negotiate a deal to stay in the O.co Coliseum for another 10 years, the Raiders are in talks to tear down the stadium next year to make way for a new home for the NFL team . . . Representatives of Coliseum City say they expect to reach a deal with the Raiders by the end of the summer that would lead to the opening of a new football stadium on the existing site by 2018.

“It will be critical to demolish the existing stadium in 2015” if the project is to be finished on time, Coliseum City attorney (and local political powerhouse) Zachary Wasserman said in a July 2 memo to Quan and City Administrator Henry Gardner.

Which, oooohhhkay, would be rather interesting given that the A’s have the right to a two-year notice before having to vacate. And given that the Coliseum Authority still owes $180 million to pay for the 1990s renovations to the place. This was all summed up in a quote from the Coliseum chairman:

“This is either smoke and mirrors,” Miley said, “or they are on crack.”

It all does seem silly, given that the Coliseum Authority, and not developers or city officials control what happens to the place. I mean, Wal-Mart could write a memo saying they want to tear my house down, but they do sorta need my approval on the plan. At least last time I checked. I dunno, maybe my living here violates Wal-Mart, Inc.’s religious beliefs thereby giving them the rights to my home. With this Supreme Court you can never tell.

All of that said, I’d be curious to see where the A’s would play if this plan did get some traction. I mean, if there was some committee studying all of this for the past five years there would be options. But as of now, eh.

Astros advance to the World Series with 4-0 finale against Yankees

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The Astros punched their ticket to the World Series on Saturday, shutting out the Yankees 4-0 to take their first Game 7 victory at home. Charlie Morton was nearly untouchable on the mound, holding the Yankees to two hits, a walk and five strikeouts en route to his first career postseason win.

Morton and Sabathia carried their duel through three solid innings. Morton struck out three batters and allowed just one baserunner. Sabathia worked in and out of jams in the second and third innings, supplying and stranding two runners in scoring position.

Evan Gattis was the first to strike. In the fourth inning, he punched a 2-2 slider from Sabathia into the left field wall, where it registered a projected 405 feet and broke a homer-less streak of 115 at-bats by designated hitters in the 2017 postseason. The home run signaled the beginning of the end for the Yankees’ starter. He induced a groundout from Marwin Gonzalez, then walked Brian McCann on six pitches and allowed Josh Reddick his first base hit of the playoffs. That was enough for Joe Girardi, who pulled Sabathia for righty Tommy Kahnle and an inning-ending double play to close out the fourth.

Even with Sabathia gone, there was still some hope that the middle of the order could bail the Yankees out. Greg Bird led off the fifth with a first pitch double and Aaron Hicks took a four-pitch walk. A wild pitch from Morton allowed Bird to reach third base, but Alex Bregman and Brian McCann weren’t about to let the Yankees spoil their starter’s shutout. Todd Frazier bounced a ball toward third base, where Bregman grabbed and fired it to home plate, catching Bird just as McCann put his glove down.

The bottom of the inning wasn’t any easier for Sabathia’s successors. Jose Altuve went oppo-taco on a 1-1 changeup from Kahnle, postmarking it 364 feet into the right field stands. Kahnle labored through the next four at-bats, handing out a pair of singles to Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel before sending Gattis down swinging. The next at-bat was even more troublesome. McCann roped a two-out, two-RBI double to the warning track in right field, clearing the bases and boosting the Astros’ to a cushy 4-0 lead.

The excitement fizzled a little over the next few innings. Brett Gardner muscled a leadoff single off of Lance McCullers, but was later caught at second on a force play to end the sixth. McCullers didn’t let go of the ball again. He was lights-out through the end of the game, scattering a walk and six strikeouts over four innings and clinching the pennant with a 1-2-3 performance in the ninth.

Whatever confidence the Astros had coming off of their three-game sweep in the Division Series was tested and tested again in their pennant run. They battled through three tough losses in Games 3 through 5, staved off elimination with a gem from Justin Verlander in Game 6, and finally emerged victorious tonight. Three days from now, when they enter Dodger Stadium for Game 1 of the World Series, they’ll have the chance to do it all again.