Most retirement announcements are bland, perfectly fine thank-you lists full of shout-outs to family members, former teammates and ball clubs. Every once in a while, an athlete is able to take that spotlight and shine it onto someone or something bigger than their own farewell. Trevor May has done just that. Maybe Trevor May belongs in MLB ownership.
The Oakland Athletics reliever announced his retirement on a Twitch stream while telling the owner to sell the team rather than relocate the A’s. The ESPN edit (they pretty much just cut out the sentences with four-letter words) is required reading/viewing. Here are some of the highlights:
“Now that it’s official, to the A’s organization and every single person part of it, I love all of you. Every single one of you, except for one guy. And we all know who that guy is.
Sell the team, dude.
I tried to get a SELL shirt. It didn’t get it here fast enough.
Sell it, man.
Let someone who actually takes pride in the things they own own something. There’s actually people who give a shit about the game. Let them do it. Take mommy and daddy’s money somewhere else, dork.
So that’s one thing I really struggled with this year was not just eviscerating that guy. Do what you’re gonna do, bro. You’re whatever. You’re a billionaire. They exist. You guys have all this power. You shouldn’t have any because you haven’t earned any of it. But anyway, whatever. It is what it is. Reality is you got handed everything you have. And now, you’re too soft to sit and stand in front, or take any responsibility for anything you’re doing.
Yeah, whatever. Oakland is Oakland. You can make all the cases — it’s not a great city, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba. But you’re putting hundreds, if not thousands of people, out of work that have worked somewhere for decades. And you haven’t acknowledged that at all. So — just be better. That’s all we’re asking.“
Turns out the entire thing is a highlight. It’s perfect. That is a perfect retirement announcement. A guy who spent a decade in the bigs called the owner of his most recent team a “dork” on a video streaming service meant for gamers. He stood up for the fans and long-term employees of a club that has been in its current city since 1968. It’s the only retirement announcement where the athlete is saying what most every fan is thinking.
Indeed, it would be difficult to find anyone to disagree with the sentiments May expressed about A’s owner John Fisher. The billionaire son of Doris Feigenbaum Fisher and Don Fisher, the founders of the Gap, inherited the money he used to buy the team — and now he wants to move the whole enterprise to Las Vegas. He’s been cheap with payroll the entire time he’s owned the A’s (read: since 2005) and allowed the stadium to languish in its current, generally undesirable state. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao calls the planned move “disrespectful.”
This isn’t about Las Vegas deserving a ballclub. They absolutely deserve a franchise, but it doesn’t have to be an existing franchise. There’s more than enough baseball talent around the world for at least two expansion clubs; the World Baseball Classic proved that. All MLB needs for a Vegas expansion team is another expansion team — so give Nashville or Memphis or Portland or Montreal a team in addition to Vegas, and call it a day. Keep the A’s in Oakland.
Even the best baseball player to emerge from Las Vegas doesn’t want the A’s in Vegas. Philadelphia Phillies superstar Bryce Harper voiced his sentiments this June to USA Today Sports. “I feel sorry for the fans in Oakland,’’ Harper said. “It’s just not right. They have so much history in Oakland. You’re taking a team out of a city. I’m pretty sad because of all of the history and all of the greatness they’ve seen there. I see the A’s as Oakland. I don’t see them as Vegas.’’
You know what May, Sheng and Harper also all agree on? The A’s long and storied history with Oakland. And one of these people may be able to at least save the name.
The team’s lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires after the 2024 season — but Fisher’s Las Vegas stadium might not be ready until Opening Day 2028. In the interim, Sheng has made it clear that the City of Oakland would be open to extending that lease — if the city can keep the A’s name, and if Oakland comes to the top of an MLB expansion list, ostensibly creating the baseball version of a Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens situation with the Oakland A’s and the Las Vegas [INSERT NAME HERE].
But there’s still a chance these A’s stay in Oakland, and Trevor May’s retirement stream (2023, baby!) didn’t come too late. There’s still time for a Phoenix Suns or Washington Commanders type of sale. Both of those teams’ former owners were despised. Both of their current owners are now beloved. And maybe most importantly, both of those teams’ former owners made a boatload of money after selling a team everyone who loves sports wanted them to sell. A happy ending is possible. Maybe May’s message connects. Maybe Fisher does just take mommy and daddy’s money somewhere else. Dork.
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