It’s no secret that the Oakland A’s could add a new city to their Athletic journey, moving from the Bay to the desert. “Las Vegas Athletics” might not be the flashiest name, but how did it sound when they moved to Oakland in the sixties, or Kansas City before that? At least, it could be worse and the green and gold could be adjusted into something more Vegas-ish pretty easily. Can’t be worse than “51s”, right?
The Reds and A’s came into Las Vegas’s Triple-A park (It’s really more Summerlin) and played a series a couple weeks back and it went well, if it didn’t overwhelm. I’ve long been an advocate for Vegas as a sports city. It’s fun, it’s bigger than you think with locals, and there’s going to be plenty of people willing to travel to see their team in Vegas, at least the first time. The Golden Knights have been a great draw (and have won consistently) while the Raiders have, umm, filled that Death Star looking stadium of theirs.
There’s a couple remaining plans if the A’s do uproot, but in every discussion, it’s a dome. I actually wondered if that was necessary, since for years, the minor league teams have obviously not had a dome. The weather is an issue, but not like in most places. I had Jack Fitzgerald dig into the data and look at weather in Vegas on days when Oakland had home games in the past. There were almost no instances where rain was an issue, though heat (over 90 in real temperature) was almost always an issue.
A dome fixes that, though really that would be more about the fans than the players when it comes down to it. Given the consistency of the heat, paying the extra for a retractable dome makes less sense. If there was a way to shade the fans and players while still giving a strip view, that would be the ideal, but I’m no architect and the wind and light effects of an open-ended stadium might bring its own issues.
The other issue is that while other stadiums are trying hard to fill the place, whether with concerts, other sports, or even holiday lights, Vegas already has plenty of venues for that and more coming. Extending this place might take some thinking … could you turn it into an indoor Top Golf on off days, or make it home field for Tiger Woods’ new indoor golf league? (No, they’re doing a custom-built venue of their own.)
As much as I’d hoped an open-air, cheaper stadium, with an iconic view of the Vegas lights would be possible, I think they’re going to have to figure something else out. Let’s face it, the view from the Tropicana wouldn’t be that great anyway. New York New York and Excalibur are probably the least iconic view on the strip, and looking across from the Festival Grounds isn’t much better. Of course, little is permanent on the strip and who knows what could go there to fill the view down the line?
For now, let’s get to the injuries:
PAUL DEJONG, SS STL (strained back)
It’s really bad timing for Paul DeJong. He was scratched from Tuesday’s game with back tightness, with Masyn Winn stepping in and reminding Oli Marmol that he’s right there. With DeJong featuring two years at sub-Mendoza hitting and barely above replacement last season, Winn’s eye-opening spring doesn’t need the door opened any more. DeJong is in the last guaranteed year of a team-friendly early contract, but has two more option years if needed.
While there’s no details of the tightness, it doesn’t need to be much with just a few weeks left in spring training both for healing and for decisions. The easiest thing to do might be shifting DeJong to the IL for the start of the season and seeing what Winn can do. There’s potential bonuses for having him on the Opening Day roster and if he struggles, it’s easy enough to go back to DeJong and let Winn visit Memphis.
The Cardinals have been a team I’ve criticized for being stuck with a bunch of similar players that were good, but didn’t break out. They’ve shifted generations and come up with a couple players under age-21 that look ready right now in time to go with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, so kudos to the scouting and development staffs there.
JOSE QUINTANA, SP NYM (fractured rib)