John Fisher is Destroying the A's and MLB is Allowing It to Happen

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On Thursday, the Oakland Athletics announced they would be playing in Sacramento's minor league ballpark starting in 2025. The franchise will remain there until its move to Las Vegas is complete, though no one has any idea how long that will take. This was the latest in a long line of steps owner John Fisher has taken that has absolutely destroyed the A's brand. Sadly, Major League Baseball has stood by and allowed him to do it.

After years of disingenuous negotiations with representatives in Oakland, last year Fisher announced his franchise would move to Las Vegas. Despite nearly a decade of penny-pinching and mismanagement, MLB supported the move and Nevada's legislators handed him hundreds of millions to build a stadium. Fisher's awful behavior and horrendous treatment of his team's players and fans was actually rewarded.

For years, Fisher has traded away top stars in awful deals and consistently cut costs. The A's entered the 2024 season with a payroll of $61.9 million, more then $20 million less than any other franchise. In 2023, the team's final competitive balance tax payroll was $81.8 million. In 2022 it was $65.3 million, down from a peak of $109.3 million in 2019. It just keeps going lower and the team keeps getting worse. 

Starting in 2022, Fisher's front office began selling off its stars. Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Chris Bassitt and Sean Murphy were all traded away, while the team allowed Marcus Semien to walk in free agency. In 2022 and 2023 the A's posted a combined record of 110-214 (.340). Despite being awful, Oakland netted a reported $62.2 million in 2022 thanks to MLB's revenue sharing system. Again, Fisher is being rewarded for bad behavior. 

As a result of all those decisions, threatening to move and refusing to fix anything at Oakland Coliseum, fans have stopped attending games. And for good reason. Why should they give their money to an owner who refuses to reinvest it in his franchise? 

Now Fisher has decided to move his major league team to Sutter Health Park in Sacramento for at least three seasons. Capacity at the park is 10,624 for fixed seats and around 14,000 when lawn areas and standing room are considered. I think it's fair to mention that summers in Sacramento can be sweltering and the stadium does not have a roof. It's small and, frankly, an embarrassment for a big league club. But, then again, Fisher is an embarrassment of a franchise owner, so this all tracks. 

The A's have become a joke on Fisher's watch. Since he took over ownership of the club in 2016, the heir to the Gap fortune has tanked the once proud franchise. In the process he has made the rest of the league's owners - and commissioner Rob Manfred - look awful. 

Fisher is not just bad for the A's, he's bad for baseball. If there was any justice in the world his fellow MLB owners would force him to sell for damaging the league's brand. Instead, MLB has stood by and watched as he has destroyed a once great franchise and nuked a passionate fan base.

Shame on John Fisher. Shame on Major League Baseball.