With the Raiders leaving, the A's are staking their claim to Oakland

The flag of the Oakland Athletics waved high from the roof of Oakland’s City Hall on Monday morning. The team and the city held a brief ceremony on the roof. The mayor of Oakland and the Athletics’ mascot, Stomper, were even there.

It might have looked like the A’s were celebrating the big sports news of the day — that NFL owners had voted to allow the Raiders to move to Las Vegas — and declaring Oakland their city. But it was all just a coincidence. A very oddly timed — perhaps even humorously timed — coincidence, since it happened just an hour after the NFL’s vote.

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Opening day is right around the corner. This year the A’s, probably more so than any time in the recent past, are really trying to embrace Oakland. Their ad campaign is as Oakland as Too Short and Jack London Square. It’s titled “Rooted in Oakland” and includes things like Bob Melvin acting as mayor or players riding BART. They’ve also used the #HellaSpring hashtag throughout spring training. So, they planned a few weeks ago to raise their flag at City Hall.



While it wasn’t exactly the intention, the flag-raising might as well have been the A’s staking their claim to Oakland. The Raiders are jetting. The Warriors are leaving for a new arena in San Francisco in 2019. The A’s are all that Oakland will have left soon enough.

And even that isn’t as certain as it probably should be. The club has long been a threat to leave — for the same reason as the Raiders, lack of a modern stadium. The Raiders leaving should help the A’s in that regard. Instead of Oakland doing a three-way dance with the A’s and Raiders, it can focus on baseball.

The Oakland Coliseum, home of the A's and Raiders. For now. (Getty Images)
The Oakland Coliseum, home of the A's and Raiders. For now. (Getty Images)

On Monday, the A’s reiterated their interest in staying in Oakland too. Team president Dave Kaval told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“We understand the Raiders’ need for a new stadium,” A’s team president Dave Kaval said. “Oakland is an incredible sports town and we would be sorry to see them leave. We commend the city’s and county’s efforts to keep the Raiders in Oakland. The Mayor and her team have worked incredibly hard to save the franchise. We are focused on, and excited about, our efforts to build a new ballpark in Oakland and look forward to announcing a location this year.”

Even before (or if) the A’s get a new stadium somewhere in Oakland, the Raiders leaving should at least make life in the Oakland Coliseum easier. The Raiders plan to play in Oakland in 2017 and 2018 before heading to Las Vegas.

Becoming a one-sport facility should make that old stadium’s final days easier — especially when you consider that the Coliseum used to be an all right ballpark before Mount Davis and the Raiders came back to town.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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