The Yankees will not be signing Shohei Ohtani, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Ohtani’s representatives informed the Yankees that they will not be invited to make an in-person presentation. GM Brian Cashman said the news was “disappointing.”
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Giants and Mariners are two teams still in the running for Ohtani. And according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Ohtani apparently prefers a smaller market on the West coast. The Mariners are believed to be the favorite. Cashman said he’d be excited if he were the GM of a West coast team in a smaller market.
Prior to Sunday, the Yankees were believed to be the favorites to land Ohtani as they had the second-largest amount of international spending money ($3.5 million) behind the Rangers ($3.55 million).
Other teams eliminated from the Ohtani sweepstakes: Red Sox, Pirates, Brewers, Blue Jays, Athletics, Twins, Diamondbacks, Mets, White Sox, Cardinals, Rays, Braves, Nationals.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.