And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

25 Comments

Angels 11, Red Sox 0: Not the best 22 hours or so for the Red Sox. After Wednesday night’s marathon they come in bleary-eyed and get utterly shellacked by the Halos. Eight runs on ten hits in four innings for John Lackey who, to be honest, should have been the best rested of all of the Red Sox given that he was probably sent home early the night before.  Speaking of rest: I almost wonder if the road team has an advantage bouncing back for a day game 11 hours after the night game ended. Since they don’t have a drive and are staying at an in-town hotel instead of their suburban mansions — and since they don’t have family with them who they want to see in the morning — I’m guessing it’s a shorter time from the ballpark to head-on-the pillow for the visitors, and I bet they got more sleep.

Tigers 6, Yankees 3: Know what I really don’t want to hear much more of? “What will they do about Derek Jeter” talk. Because here’s what they can do: nothing. They give him a day off here and there and each time Eduardo Nunez comes in and throws the ball all over the place. I guess he hits a little, but the fact is that Jeter doesn’t have an heir at short. He’s not getting moved any time soon. The talk about moving him up and down the lineup seems like deck chairs on the Titanic stuff. Eduardo Nunez. Ick.  Three out of four for the Tigers who, at times anyway, look like the only team who even remotely has it in them to make a run at Cleveland. Meanwhile, the Yankees’ lead over Tampa Bay is down to one game.

Reds 10, Astros 4: Homer Bailey returns from the DL and looks good: six innings, four hits, a run and seven strikeouts. Jay Bruce is heating up too (3 for 4, HR 3 runs).

Cardinals 6, Marlins 3: It’s not often you see Josh Johnson get beat up, but the Cardinals did it. Four runs batted in for Lance Berkman, including three on a tie-breaking home run in the eighth. Colby Rasmus, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday all had nice days too.  Those four in the middle of the lineup can do some damage.

Indians 4, Athletics 3: Oakland had a ton of chances here, stranding runners in scoring position in extra innings twice and leaving a bunch of other guys on base.  The Indians, however, got the hits when it mattered with 12th inning RBI singles from Jack Hannahan and Lou Marson.  The Tribe is 21-9, matching their best start in franchise history. They’ve done that a few times, actually. One notable time: 1948. Which, if you’re an Indians fan, should mean something to you.

Mets 5, Giants 2: Mike Pelfrey helps the Mets avoid a sweep, allowing one earned run (and another unearned) on four hits in seven and two-thirds. Don’t get too excited, though, Mets fans. This was a very getaway day lineup for the Giants. Oh, and this is fun: K-Rod allowed three baserunners but none scored. He’s been doing a lot of that recently, giving him a strange looking 1.35 ERA but a 1.88 WHIP.

Royals 9, Orioles 1: Melky Cabrera went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI and a walk. Bruce Chen allowed one run on five hits over seven. And most significantly of all: the Royals called up Eric Hosmer after the game.

Rays 3, Blues Jays 1: David Price was rough stuff, striking out ten in eight innings. Johnny Damon got his 2,600th career hit.

Braves 2, Brewers 1: Brandon Beachy continues to impress (6 IP, 0 ER, 9K) as he makes homers from Martin Prado and Eric Hinske hold up.

Phillies 7, Nationals 3: Philly jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Yeah, I think that was enough for Roy Halladay, who struck out 10 in seven innings.

Mariners 3, Rangers 1: Justin Smoak’s hot streak continues with a home run against his former club. Since coming back to the team after the death of his father he is batting .353 with three homers, four doubles and 13 RBI.  The Mariners are 7-2 during that stretch.

Diamondbacks 3, Rockies 2: Down 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth, Arizona rallied for two runs off Huston Street. In the bottom of the 11th Justin Upton singled home Chris Young. The Diamondbacks finish a pretty respectable homestand in which they took two of three from the Rockies and Phillies and split four with the Cubs.

A’s running out of time to find home in Oakland, Las Vegas

oakland athletics
Brandon Sloter/Getty Images
1 Comment

LAS VEGAS — The Oakland Athletics have spent years trying to get a new stadium while watching Bay Area neighbors such as the Giants, Warriors, 49ers and Raiders successfully move into state-of-the-art venues, and now time is running short on their efforts.

The A’s lease at RingCentral Coliseum expires after the 2024 season, and though they might be forced to extend the terms, the club and Major League Baseball have deemed the stadium unsuitable for a professional franchise.

They are searching for a new stadium in Oakland or Las Vegas, but they have experienced difficulties in both areas. The A’s missed a major deadline in October to get a deal done in Oakland, and there has been little indication they will receive the kind of funding they want from Las Vegas.

“I think the A’s have to look at it in a couple of ways,” said Brendan Bussmann, managing partner at Las Vegas-based B Global. “Obviously, they have struggled in Oakland to get a deal across the line. It isn’t for a lack of effort. . You have an owner that’s willing to pony up money, you have a club that wants to sit there and figure out a way to make it work, and you keep running into obstacles along the way.

“It’s time to fish or cut bait. Oakland, do you want them or not? And if not, where are the A’s going to get the best deal? Is it Vegas? Is it somewhere else? They’ll have to figure that out.”

What the A’s are thinking is a little bit of a mystery. Team President Dave Kaval was talkative earlier in the process, saying the A’s are pursuing two different tracks with Oakland and Las Vegas. But he went silent on the subject several months ago. A’s spokeswoman Catherine Aker said mostly recently that the club would withhold comment for now.

The A’s have been negotiating with Oakland to build a $1 billion stadium as part of a $12 billion redevelopment deal.

Newly elected Mayor Sheng Thao said reaching a deal is important as long as it makes economic sense to the city. Her predecessor, Libby Schaaf, led prior efforts to reach an agreement, but after the city and the A’s missed that October deadline, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed reservations a deal will ever get done.

“The pace in Oakland has not been rapid, number one,” Manfred said at the time. “We’re in a stadium situation that’s really not tenable. I mean, we need to do something to alter the situation. So I’m concerned about the lack of pace.”

Recent California history justifies his concerns. SoFi Stadium in Southern California and Chase Center in San Francisco were built with private money, and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara was 90% privately financed.

“And then I think there was some contagion where around the country people realized these deals could be done well privately and could generate a return on investment to those investors,” said David Carter, a sports business professor at the University of Southern California. “Why are we throwing public money at it at all?”

That’s also a question being asked in Las Vegas, even though the Raiders in 2016 received $750 million from the Nevada Legislature for a stadium. That then was the largest amount of public money for a sports venue, but it was surpassed last March by the $850 million pledged to construct a new stadium for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

Another deal like the one for Allegiant Stadium, where the Raiders play, appears unlikely in Nevada. T-Mobile Arena, which opened in 2017, was privately financed. An arena planned for south of the Las Vegas Strip also wouldn’t rely on public funds.

Las Vegas, however, has shown financing creativity. Its Triple-A baseball stadium received $80 million in 2017 for naming rights from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Room taxes fund the authority, so it was public money in a backdoor sort of way.

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, who is on the board of the convention authority, has spoken with A’s representatives about their interest in Las Vegas and said he is aware of the club’s talks with other Nevada officials. He said the A’s are taking a much different approach than the Raiders, who identified Las Vegas early as their choice landing spot after many years of failing to get a new stadium in Oakland.

“When the Raiders decided to come to Las Vegas, they had a clear plan,” Naft said. “You had a clear body that was tasked with assessing the worth and the value, and they committed to the destination. I have not seen that from the Oakland A’s at any level, and it’s not really our job to go out and beg them to come here because we have earned the reputation of the greatest arena on Earth. We have put in both the dollars and the labor to make that the case.

“I think I’ve made myself clear, but from conversations with others, I don’t think I’m alone on that.”

New Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo “will not raise taxes” to attract the A’s or any other team, his spokeswoman, Elizabeth Ray, said in a statement. But she said the club could qualify for other ongoing “economic development programs,” which could mean tax breaks similar to what Tesla received in 2014.

Manfred said in December that the A’s relocation fee would be waived if they move to Las Vegas, a savings to the club reportedly of up to $1 billion.

“We’re past any reasonable timeline for the situation in Oakland to be resolved,” Manfred said then.

Naft said Allegiant Stadium filled a hole that went beyond landing an NFL team. It allowed Las Vegas to attract major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and Final Four and major concerts such as Garth Brooks and Elton John that “in many cases we would not otherwise have.”

He said he doesn’t believe a baseball stadium would accomplish that, and sports economist Victor Matheson agreed.

“I think there’s a real question about how much people are willing to watch baseball in Las Vegas,” said Matheson, a professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. “It’s not like locals don’t have a huge number of entertainment options right now, and it’s not clear exactly how much people might travel to watch baseball in Vegas, either.”

If the A’s truly want to be in Las Vegas, Naft said they need to make that clear.

“I just believe you can’t play destinations against each other,” Naft said. “If you want to come here and you want to be met with open arms, you’ve got to commit.”

Should the A’s fail to reach an agreement in Oakland or Las Vegas, they could consider other destinations such as Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville; and Portland, Oregon. Whether they would have the time to explore such options is another question.

Oakland has already shown it will watch the Raiders move to Nevada and the Warriors go across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.

Las Vegas, Matheson noted, is hardly in a desperate situation. He also expressed caution that Las Vegas could go from being among the largest metropolitan areas without a major professional sports team to among the smallest with three franchises.

“So you’ve gone from kind of being under-sported to being over-sported in a short period of time if the A’s were to go there,” Matheson said.