Tuesday's news that the Athletics will start exploring relocation possibilities with the instruction of Major League Baseball naturally made it to the ears of manager Bob Melvin.
Melvin was asked if he was optimistic or concerned after hearing the possibility that the A's might have to forgo the longtime project of the waterfront ballpark and instead have been encouraged to look at other citities.
“I really don’t know,” Melvin said Tuesday. “This was something MLB obviously felt was needed and that maybe this hasn’t moved at the pace they would like to see. It certainly doesn’t preclude the fact that it could still happen at the waterfront in Oakland, it's just I think, giving the organization a few more potential options.”
Starting pitcher Jesús Luzardo earlier in the day tweeted “#RootedinOakland" after the news had made its way across the Internet.
Melvin doesn’t believe the team is, or will be distracted by it.
“I think they’re just focused on playing,” Melvin said. “We’re not going anywhere. We play in the venue we’re at. Until something changes, I don’t think they think too much of it.”
Melvin, a Bay Area native from Palo Alto and Cal graduate, said he believes the team staying in Oakland is imperative.
“The A’s have been an important organization in Oakland for a long time and I think that’s still the hope. It doesn’t affect me that what MLB has said to our ownership,” Melvin said. “We continue to play in Oakland until something changes. It’s the same for me, the same feeling I always have playing there.”
Melvin didn’t get into details about the economic impact of the possible move. But after the Warriors moved across the bridge from Oakland to San Francisco and the Raiders made their new home in Las Vegas, Oakland is facing the possibility of losing three major sports franchises in a short span.
“There are other people that are probably more entrenched in that,” Melvin said. “My job is to go out and play where we are right now. It is unfortunate that a couple teams have left and certainly we don’t want that to happen, and I don’t think anything that has been said today would suggest it’s going to. I think it’s just given MLB and the organization some more options to maybe look elsewhere.”
Melvin was asked if he has any doubts about the endgame being the A’s leaving Oakland.
“I don’t,” he said. “The organization has been looked hard to stay in Oakland and looked at different venues in the Bay Area as well. I don’t think that changes.”