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EDITORIAL: The A’s miss a prime opportunity

The Oakland A’s missed an opportunity with the team’s decision on a temporary home.

On Thursday, the franchise’s owner announced that the A’s would play the next three seasons in a Sacramento Triple-A park. The ballclub is slated to move to Las Vegas for the 2028 season upon the completion of a new stadium on the Strip. But it needed an interim landing spot to bridge the three-year gap created by the expiration of its lease at the end of the 2024 season on its current field in Oakland.

The A’s could have simply moved to Las Vegas early — the city sports a new, state-of-the-art Triple-A park in downtown Summerlin that is considered a jewel. Instead, team officials opted for the California capital.

“We explored several locations for a temporary home,” said a statement issued by A’s owner John Fisher. It added, “We extend our appreciation to the … city of West Sacramento and look forward to making Sutter Health Park our home until our new ballpark opens in Las Vegas.”

Rather than settling into its new locale and becoming the Las Vegas A’s next year, the team will be without a designated home city for three years and call itself only the A’s or Athletics.

Mr. Fisher explained the decision. “We want to make sure that we have a big launch of the team in the big stadium down on the Strip,” he told Review-Journal reporter Mick Akers. “Obviously, things like the heat are factors. And ensuring that we have a good interim location and the broadcast piece was also a factor. All these things really made Sacramento the best interim choice for us as we embark on our path toward Las Vegas in 2028.”

But these concerns were speed bumps, not concrete roadblocks. The Aviators already survive here in the heat, and the optics of the 2028 stadium unveiling would not have been compromised by the team’s presence in Las Vegas. As for the “broadcast piece” to which Mr. Fisher alluded, the move to Sacramento forced the team to negotiate “a reduced rights fee” to remain on NBC Sports California, The Athletic reported.

Opting for Las Vegas may have cost the team a small amount in TV revenue, but it would have provided an occasion for the franchise to begin putting down roots in Southern Nevada, cultivating a fan base and integrating itself into the community — all while easing the transition for the MLB team’s players and employees. Instead, that process has been delayed, while Las Vegas baseball fans watch the future home team take the field 560 miles to the northwest. That’s too bad.

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