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MLB commissioner says he feels ‘sorry’ for baseball fans in Oakland

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday rejected claims that the Oakland A’s didn’t negotiate in good faith with the city before signing an agreement to move the franchise to Las Vegas. 

Speaking with the Associated Press Sports Editors in New York, Manfred said he feels ‘sorry for the fans in Oakland’ after the team was unable to work out a deal for a new stadium in the Bay Area.

“We have shown an unbelievable commitment to the fans in Oakland by exhausting every possible opportunity to try to get something done in Oakland,” Manfred said. “Unfortunately, the government doesn’t seem to have the will to get it done.”

The A’s last week signed a binding purchase agreement for 49 acres of land near the Las Vegas Strip, where the team plans to build a $1 billion, 35,000-seat retractable-roof stadium in time for the 2027 season.

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After the announcement, Oakland mayor Sheng Thao said she was disappointed the A’s and owner John Fisher didn’t negotiate with the city as a “true partner.”

“It is clear to me that the A’s have no intention of staying in Oakland and have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas,” Thao said in a statement.

Manfred denied the allegation. “I feel sorry for the fans in Oakland. I really do. But for the city of Oakland to point fingers at John Fisher, it’s not fair,’ he said, adding that stadium discussions between the city and the team have been going on since 2014.

Manfred also said he believes the last-place A’s will be able to field a more competitive team in Las Vegas.

Currently, the A’s have a major league-worst 4-18 record and have been outscored by 103 runs, while averaging just over 11,000 fans for their 12 home games at the Oakland Coliseum — also the lowest figure in the majors.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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