It is never good when Congress asks questions of MLB.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred had to know this was coming. A California Senator and a California House member would like to chat with him about the Oakland Athletics’ owner John Fisher’s attempt to move his Oakland, California-based business to Las Vegas, Nevada. This is where it might become a little uncomfortable for Manfred. MLB still has an antitrust exemption although it has been watered down. Representative Barbara Lee, an Oakland-Democrat, is annoyed with Manfred “with the continuing apparent failure of the team and Major League Baseball to deal in good faith.” Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat, released a statement that said. “The Senator shares the concerns of Oakland officials and has communicated those concerns to MLB,” Padilla’s statement said. “The City has made a genuine effort in their negotiations to support the team and the Senator wants to see the A’s remain in Oakland. The City of Oakland has supported the A’s for over 50 years, the team should not abandon Oakland over marginal differences.”
Ironically it was the Athletics franchise that drew the ire of a Missouri Senator in 1967 and 1968 which changed the business of Major League Baseball. On October 1st, 1967, Charley Finley’s Kansas City’s baseball team played for the final time in the Missouri City. Finley was taking his club to Oakland. Finley’s relocation set in motion a great number of events which still resonate nearly 56 years later. Finley’s move to Oakland got the attention of Missouri Senator Stuart Symington who decided if Kansas City no longer had a team, then it was time to review baseball’s antitrust exemption. The American League owners took Symington’s threat seriously and immediately expanded into Seattle and Kansas City for the 1969 season. The National League followed suit, placing teams in San Diego and Montréal. MLB placated Congress by expanding.
Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191
Evan can be reached at email@example.com