Athletics

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred 'very concerned' over A's stadium lawsuit

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred 'very concerned' over A's stadium lawsuit

Major League Baseball has its eyes on the city of Oakland's lawsuit against Alameda County, and the suit could affect MLB's support of the A's building a stadium in the city. 

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser on Wednesday before the A's 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card Game that he's "very concerned" about the lawsuit.

“I think [A’s president] Dave Kaval and John Fisher and the rest of the A’s organization have made a huge investment to try to get a stadium done here," Manfred told The Chronicle, "and to have a city entity turn around and litigate against progress is upsetting.”

The city of Oakland sued Alameda County on Friday to prevent the county from selling its share of the Coliseum site to the A's, which the county Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to do in April. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesh set a Nov. 14 hearing on the lawsuit Tuesday, and he issued a temporary restraining order on the sale.

The A's reportedly agreed to purchase the county's portion for $85 million, and The Chronicle's Phil Matier wrote Wednesday that there are "rumblings that the $85 million the A's are offering ... is far below market value." The city of Oakland is worried that selling to the A's "won't include enough benefits for the surrounding community," according to Matier. 

In the suit, the city argues the county violated the Surplus Land Act, which calls for extra land owned by public entities to first be considered for public housing. The city said the county did not negotiate "in good faith" for the required 90 days, and instead began working on a deal with the A's.

“The Coliseum properties are Oakland’s largest public land parcel, and it is imperative that the properties are developed first and foremost for the benefit of the people of Oakland and Alameda County,” Oakland city attorney Barbara Parker told The Chronicle on Tuesday. “The city has declared its commitment to develop the Coliseum properties to achieve their highest and best use for the public good.”

[RELATED: Full-throated A's fans pack Coliseum during wild-card loss]

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said the city attorney filed the lawsuit on the city council's orders, and she told The Chronicle she thought the lawsuit should be suspended. Manfred told the newspaper that he met with Schaaf and city council president Rebecca Kaplan on Wednesday.

“I hope the city will come forward and be more aggressive about moving the process forward," Manfred said. "The mayor and president Kaplan expressed strong support for keeping the A’s here in my meeting with them, and I tried to make clear from them that we need more than verbal support for the process.”

The A's currently are trying to build a new ballpark at Howard Terminal. Manfred told The Chronicle that he told Schaaf the lawsuit's "timing was such that some people could read it that maybe it is time for us to consider other alternatives." Manfred added later that he is "hopeful" the A's future is in Oakland.

Relive three iconic A's victories, performances against rival Astros

Relive three iconic A's victories, performances against rival Astros

Programming note: NBC Sports California will air three classic A’s-Astros games beginning Saturday at 3 p.m. PT.

Since joining the AL West after switching leagues in 2013, the Houston Astros quickly have morphed into one of the A’s most hated rivals.

Those seven seasons have produced plenty of classic matchups, as the clubs finished the season as the division’s top two teams in four of the seven years.

However, the coronavirus outbreak forcing an indefinite suspension upon MLB has robbed teams of getting a chance at revenge on Houston, after the organization was implicated in a nefarious sign-stealing scheme this offseason.

Nevertheless, there's still a way to get your fix, as fans can tune in to NBC Sports California on Saturday afternoon to relive three memorable A’s victories over the Astros.

Lowrie caps comeback

The A’s had their backs against the wall entering the bottom of the seventh inning, trailing Houston 7-3 on a cloudy fall evening in Oakland.

Then Marcus Semien walked to the plate. It took just one swing for the game to be tied at seven as the Bay Area native connected on his third career grand slam. After former A’s outfielder Josh Reddick gave Houston back the lead in the top half, the A’s brought out the power once again. 

Boog Powell led off the bottom half by tying the game with a solo home run, then a few batters later Jed Lowrie brought Semien home to deliver a walk-off win.

The A’s clearly fed off the momentum of that victory, as Oakland went on to sweep the four-game set.

Olson beats Astros

Neck-and-neck in the divisional race, these two adversaries faced off once again at the Oakland Coliseum just under a year later. 

In his 29th career MLB appearance, outfielder Nick Martini was the night’s first hero, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI double to bring home Ramon Laureano, who initially was called out before a replay review reversed the ruling.

Slugger Matt Olson came up in the 10th, and lifted a towering shot just over the right-field fence, bringing the A’s to within one game of the AL West lead.

[RELATED: Why Olson's walk-off homer vs. Brewers was so impressive]

A’s offense explodes

A day after the A’s were hammered 15-0 at Minute Maid Park, the A’s returned the favor in a big way.

Astros starter Wade Miley lasted just a third of an inning before being relieved, having allowed six runs, all of which came on RBI singles.

Oakland ended up with six total home runs, including two apiece from Olson and young catcher Sean Murphy. It also was the first time in the expansive history of the A’s that the team scored 20 or more runs, had 25 or more hits, and hit at least six home runs in the same contest.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy what likely would have become America’s new greatest pastime this summer: Watching your team beat the Astros.

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

A’s utility man Chad Pinder is home in Charlotte, North Carolina getting plenty of things done. Watching Netflix, painting nursery furniture, and getting in decent workouts in his garage.

Productive, but not reassuring.

“This is kind of unprecedented in our lifetime, basically to have the nation on hold right now,” Pinder told NBC  Sports Bay Area this week. “It is a very scary time, especially in some the areas that are affected bad right now.”

It was only a few weeks ago Pinder and his Oakland teammates were in Mesa, Arizona getting ready for a highly anticipated 2020 MLB season. 

They, like most of the country, didn’t fully interpret the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at first.

“I don’t know if we initially realized what was going on,” Pinder said. “Thought maybe this would be a two-week break, month maximum. The more information you get, the more you see going around, you realize this is a long-term thing.”

Pinder, a highly-regarded clubhouse leader, now keeps in touch with teammates mostly through text messages.

“We have a group thread, everybody’s talking,” Pinder said.

Their main conversations are about MLB developments, and to keep each other in the loop of when baseball could resume. Players don’t have any more assurances or insights than the average fan does these days. But there are some certainties. 

“Even when we resume stuff, there will be residual effects of what’s been going on,” Pinder said.

[RELATED: Stewart better after coronavirus scare]

That aforementioned nursery project is indeed preparation for Chad and his wife Taylor’s first child, due in the late summer months. He is certainly seeing different perspectives of events right now, as they relate to the future.

“The way we handle this, the way we come out of this,” Pinder said. “We’ll look back on the rest of our lives and remember this time.”