It was announced this week that the Athletics, at long last, had come to an agreement with a group of politicians to build a new stadium for the club, which has been stuck in an outdated facility for years.
If that sounds familiar, it is because the same situation, with the same reasoning, has been playing out for more than 100 years. The Athletics, a vagabond franchise that originally hailed from Philadelphia before moving to Kansas City, Mo., and then Oakland, Calif., have never seemed content with where they were.
From a stadium limited by prohibitive blue laws in Philadelphia to a hastily rebuilt minor league park in Kansas City to a Brutalist concrete palace in Oakland, they have always had their eye out for something better. They explored Denver, they poked at San Jose and Fremont, they had multiple sites picked out in Oakland. But now, in an agreement announced by Nevada’s governor that still faces several hurdles, they want to build a stadium on the Las Vegas Strip that would theoretically be ready for the 2027 season.
It is a situation causing optimism in Vegas, heartbreak in Oakland and undoubtedly some eye-rolling everywhere else. The A’s, with nine World Series titles and 17 100-loss seasons, have seemingly been on the verge of a move for most of their existence.
“It’s possible that a relocation vote could happen as early as June,” Commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters on Thursday when asked about the Las Vegas deal. But in keeping with how far the plan has to go, and how much it has already changed in the last few weeks, he cited a previous location for the stadium, rather than the team’s current plan to build on the site of the Tropicana Las Vegas.
The team’s reputation for restlessness is earned. The Athletics are tied with the Braves (Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta) and the Orioles (Milwaukee, St. Louis and Baltimore) for the most traveled franchises. But in a strange enough quirk, the A’s have had only four stadiums in their 123 seasons of play — fewer than all but a handful of teams.
Unfortunately for the A’s, none of their four parks would get confused for a classic like Boston’s Fenway Park or a modern marvel like the Rangers’ Globe Life Field.
A look at those four stadiums makes it clear why A’s have had a perpetual wandering eye.
1901-1908 | World Series titles: 0
Top Player: Eddie Plank, P, 51 wins above replacement
The Philadelphia Times announced a crowd of 15,000 at the Athletics’ first game in 1901. The stadium’s capacity was only 9,500 but fans crowded around neighboring houses and watched over the fences.
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