Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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The Raiders were just gifted $750 million by Nevada. What does it mean for the Oakland A’s?


We’ve been watching the stadium situation in Oakland for years now. For all that watching nothing has happened for the Oakland Athletics, however, because they are basically held hostage by entities who are not the Oakland Athletics.

They couldn’t move to San Jose like they and San Jose wanted to because of the San Francisco Giants and Major League Baseball’s antitrust law-immune territory system. Likewise, they have been delayed in finding any solution in Oakland because the Oakland Raiders are also looking for someplace new to play and they and the NFL simply suck up more oxygen than the A’s do, meaning that the A’s have had to bide their time and wait to see what develops with the football team.

Now something is developing. The Raiders have been in discussions with Las Vegas for a good while now, and have seemed poised to move there if they can get the money for a new stadium. Money which no one in California is willing to give them because California is one of the few places in America that has woken up to how bad a deal it is to give professional sports teams free stadiums. But Nevada is still sleeping:

The Nevada Senate approved a plan Tuesday to spend $750 million in public funds for a new stadium in hopes of luring the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, despite critics saying the deal “is deeply flawed.”

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval called a special session that began Monday in Carson City so lawmakers could take up a bill that would finance a $1.9 billion stadium off the Las Vegas Strip by providing $750 million from bonds that would be repaid with new revenue raised from a hotel tax.

Whether the Raiders move, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio explains, is dependent upon the votes of the other NFL owners, several of whom are opposed to having a team in Las Vegas. The NFL is not like Major League Baseball, however, and owners have been known to go rogue in the past, suing to move despite league opposition and, in some cases, being successful in doing it. Heck, the Raiders themselves have done it before.

What does this all mean for the A’s? Well, if the Raiders do get to take that three quarters of a billion Nevada is foolishly giving them and move away from the Bay Area, the prospects for a new ballpark in Oakland are substantially better. Oakland has said at various times it wants both the A’s and the Raiders, but they’ve likewise noted that only one team is going to be able to get the sort of public accommodations a stadium would require, even if the construction of the place itself would be financed with private money.

For what it’s worth, Rob Manfred said this week that Oakland officials have privately told him that baseball is the city’s priority over football, and suggested that if the Raiders moved, the A’s new ballpark, wherever it is, could finally become a reality as opposed to the theoretical construct it has been for a good decade.

Good luck with that, A’s. And good luck giving the Raiders millions and millions of dollars to relocate, Nevada. That has never come back to bite anyone in the past. Like, ever.

Fredi Gonzalez wants to work for the Marlins again for some reason

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Mark Bowman of reports that former Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has talked to the Miami Marlins about becoming their third base coach. Bowman says Gonzalez is “still mulling a few other opportunities” however.

That he’s even considering the Marlins is rather shocking. Yes, everyone’s gotta eat, but Gonzalez and the Marlins had a pretty notable falling out several years ago. Gonzalez was fired by the Marlins in 2010 after winning more games than any other Marlins manager ever had and after winning Sporting News’ manager of the year award in 2008. He then rejoined the Braves, taking over for Bobby Cox in 2011.

In 2012, Gonzalez and Marlins owner got into a public spat when Gonzalez noted — quite correctly, mind you — that “[t]here’s not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey thinks is good enough. Not Connie Mack, not anyone.” And, indeed, Loria by then had a pretty short but rich history of going through managers who had won and won big elsewhere, such as Joe Girardi and Ozzie Guillen. In response, Loria called Gonzalez “classless” and “a colossal failure.”

I guess anyone can make up and play nice. If Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner can make nice, I suppose Gonzalez and Loria can.

Santiago Casilla was not happy about not pitching last night

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It’s been a frustrating year for Giants reliever Santiago Casilla. He was yanked from a game back in May, when he was still the Giants’ closer. He fumed at the time, saying, “the reason I got upset was because he took me out of the game where I thought he had confidence in me. I think I could pitch to the lefty, but I guess it shows the manager didn’t have faith in me.”

Bochy kept faith in Casilla for a few more months, but by September he had blown nine saves, leading the league in that dubious category. In mid-September Bochy demoted Casilla and used him sparingly in the season’s final couple of weeks. He made only one appearance in the NLDS: two-thirds of an inning in a low leverage situation in Game 2.

Which means he was basically the only Giants reliever of note who played no part in the meltdown that ended their season in the ninth inning of last night’s game. According to the Mercury News, Casilla is not happy to have not taken part. He reportedly sat in tears at his locker after the game and lamented the lack of confidence his team has in him:

“Never . . . I’m a pitcher. I’m part of the bullpen. I know I have had some bad moments in September and during the season, but I have good numbers in the playoffs and I know I can pitch in that situation. I know I can pitch in the big leagues.”

Before this season Casilla was a bullpen star for the Giants, playing an important part in all three of their World Series wins. Now the 36-year-old is due to become a free agent this winter. I’d guess the odds of him staying in San Francisco are close to zero, both because the Giants have lost faith in Casilla and because he has lost faith in them.