ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Mark Kotsay is focusing on the Oakland Athletics’ current season, not on the team’s longterm location.
“I’m managing this team and I don’t have control of those decisions,” he said Friday, two days after the team said it purchased land in Las Vegas with the intention of building a ballpark there for the 2027 season. “My focus is on getting this team better, improving from the maturation of these young players and winning as many games as possible.”
Kotsay played for Oakland from 2004-07, was a coach from 2016-21 under Bob Melvin and was promoted to manager ahead of the 2022 season.
His team was 3-16 going into Friday night’s game at Texas. The A’s had a major league low payroll of $57.8 million on opening day, and their average attendance of 11,027 through 12 home games is the lowest in the majors and less than half of the league average of about 27,600.
Team president Dave Kaval said “we’re turning our full attention to Las Vegas.” The A’s lease at the Coliseum expires after the 2024 season and a financing agreement for a new stadium still has to be reached.
“I feel for the fans,” Kotsay said. “Not just the fans but the employees that have been in this organization for probably longer, most, than I have. Because one of the things about this organization is the continuity and the loyalty that they’ve shown to their employees.”
Kotsay said he learned the land purchase via text from A’s general manager David Forst during the flight to Texas.
Catcher Shea Langeliers, one of many A’s who has been with the club less than two full seasons, echoed Kotsay’s sentiments.
“It’s something that’s not really in our control,” Langeliers said. “Whether people think it’s good news, bad news, whatever the case may be, we’re just going to go play baseball.”
The A’s could become the first Major League Baseball team with homes in four cities. They started in Philadelphia from 1901-54, played in Kansas City from 1955-67 and have been in Oakland Coliseum since 1968.
Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien, a Bay Area native who played three years at Cal and six years for the A’s, called the situation “pretty sad” for Oakland baseball.
“The community definitely deserves a better ballpark,” Semien said, “and they’ve obviously tried for years and years and years and couldn’t get it done.” ___
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