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Santoro: A’s move to Sacramento should raise alarms in Vegas

Guardians pitcher Carlos Carrasco works against the Oakland Athletics during the teams’ game on March 31.

Guardians pitcher Carlos Carrasco works against the Oakland Athletics during the teams’ game on March 31.
Jeff Chiu | AP

The city of Las Vegas might want to consider breaking off its weird, strange and mysterious relationship with the Oakland A’s before it’s too late.

Why are the A’s going to play the next three or four years in Sacramento and not Las Vegas? Why have the A’s plans to build a $1.5 billion stadium in Las Vegas not progressed past the rendering stage? Why did the A’s go out of their way recently to trademark the names “Sacramento A’s” and “Sacramento Athletics?”

If you think the A’s supposed move to Las Vegas is a done deal, well, think again. The A’s commitment to play the 2025-27 seasons in Sacramento, with a possibility of 2028, should be disturbing to all future Las Vegas A’s fans.

The A’s move to Sacramento should be a UNLV Rebel-red flag for everyone in Las Vegas. If the A’s can share a minor league stadium with the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A team in Sacramento, why can’t they share a minor league ballpark with their own Triple-A team in Las Vegas?

It doesn’t seem like the A’s are all that excited to call Nevada home anytime soon, does it? We might be looking at the most devious and cruel catfish scheme in the history of professional sports, except the A’s are doing it face-to-face with the city of Las Vegas and aren’t making any effort to hide their identity.

The Sacramento region is also making no secret of its intention to treat these next three or four years as an opportunity to steal the A’s. Then again, the thievery might already be accomplished as naïve Las Vegas now can only sit back, hope, cross its fingers and wait for the A’s to come to Nevada in four or five years.

Who gets engaged to be married and then watches their future spouse move in with someone else for three years before the wedding day? Yes, of course, it’s not unusual for a Vegas wedding to get annulled the morning after the ceremony, but this marriage might not even get to the chapel.


The city of Las Vegas might be better off with an expansion franchise, anyway.

Who wants the A’s, one of the least-meaningful teams in Major League Baseball? Who wants A’s owner John Fisher, one of the most incompetent owners in all of professional sports? Oakland, which never really deserved a Major League franchise in the first place, never properly appreciated and supported the A’s, even when the team was winning World Series.

Nobody, not Philadelphia, not Kansas City, not Oakland, has ever truly wanted, appreciated and supported the A’s. Why should things be any different in Las Vegas eventually?

Las Vegas already has the Raiders. Adding the A’s would solidify Southern Nevada as nothing more than Oakland’s junkyard. When there is anything truly good and valued in Oakland, the city of San Francisco steals it (see the Golden State Warriors).

Does anyone truly trust Fisher and the A’s to operate professionally and honestly in Las Vegas? Will they make any effort to simply put a team on the field that can even compete for a division title? Will they ever get to the point of being able to merely keep their star players?

An expansion franchise it can call its own with a deep-pocketed owner that will be an asset for the community for decades to come might be the sound, intelligent and best path for major league success in Las Vegas.

This whole A’s situation has seemed forced, artificial and a pipedream from the start. It still seems that way, even with the fancy renderings.


Sacramento, of course, makes much more sense for the A’s than Las Vegas. The A’s already have a fan base in Sacramento. The Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League were the home of Oakland’s Triple-A team from 2000-2014.

Jilted A’s fans in the Bay Area can easily make the 90-mile drive up Interstate 80 to Sacramento to see their heroes. A’s fans in Stockton and Modesto can go up Interstate 5. It’s also an easy two-hour drive from Reno.

The A’s averaged a little over 10,000 fans a game in Oakland in 2023. They’ll likely do better in Sacramento with the addition of a few thousand seats and a community that will do everything it can to prove it is Major League-worthy.

Sacramento, of course, won’t be able to steal the A’s from Las Vegas unless it can promise a $1.5 billion stadium. Until that happens, the A’s will have no choice but to go to Las Vegas whether they like it or not. Major League Baseball, which already looks like a fly-by-night, pop-up professional sport with the A’s playing in a minor league park in Sacramento for three or four years, will demand the move to Las Vegas.


Former Nevada basketball coach Eric Musselman is now competing with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers for the Southern California basketball dollar.

Musselman, who spent the past five years at Arkansas revitalizing the Razorbacks’ program with two trips to the Elite Eight and one to the Sweet 16, is now the USC Trojans head coach.

He’s only been there a few days but Hollywood, not Reno or Fayetteville, Ark., is where Musselman has belonged all along. He’s got the sparkle in his eyes, the flashy smile, the never-ending confidence, the pretty trophy wife and the abs to fit right in the middle of Southern California’s power brokers.

We saw him do it in Reno, pumping life into the dormant Wolf Pack for four seasons (2015-16 through 2018-19) and filling Lawlor Events Center on a nightly basis. He packed over 19,000 fans into Arkansas’ Bud Walton Arena every night for the better part of the last five years.

USC, which averaged 6,300 fans a game last year, will be a more difficult sell for Musselman. Los Angeles, after all, has a lot of flashy smiles, sparkling eyes, trophy wives and impressive abs to compete with.

But if Musselman could recruit to Reno and Fayetteville, he can certainly do it in Los Angeles.


USC makes perfect sense for Musselman. California, after all, was always the place Musselman was meant to be.

He played college basketball at San Diego (his mother still lives there) and coached in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings. He also worked for the Los Angeles Clippers and coached in the then-D-League in Los Angeles. Southern California, with its obsession on celebrity and media, is perfect for the photogenic and appealing Musselman family.

Musselman’s wife, the former Danyelle Sargent (ex-ESPN, Fox, NFL Network reporter), can now revitalize her own career if she so wishes in Southern California after relegating herself to playing the role of devoted coach’s wife in Reno and Fayetteville the last nine years.

Musselman will also be more connected to any future NBA openings now that he’s gotten the Southern California spotlight.

USC also was likely desirable for Musselman because it is now headed to the Big Ten. Musselman’s father Bill gained fame in the Big Ten as the head coach at Minnesota from 1971-75 when young Eric was in grade school. You can bet Eric feels the Musselman family has some unfinished business to take care of in the Big Ten.


Promising Wolf Pack freshman center Jazz Gardner this week stepped into the dreaded transfer portal. The move, unfortunately, shouldn’t surprise anyone, as the Pack played the former four-star recruit in just 20 of its 34 games this year and only let him stay on the court for an average of 6.5 minutes each time.

You can’t get away with that with four-star recruits in this era of NIL money and transfer portal opportunities.

The 7-foot Gardner was 22-of-49 (.449) from the floor. He was also 20-of-38 (53 percent) when he concentrated on dunks and layups and wasn’t concerned with showing off his 3-point (2-of-11) skills.

He averaged 2.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and had just three blocks, three assists and a steal to go along with 14 fouls and nine turnovers.

Pack coach Steve Alford, you can be sure, also isn’t surprised Gardner is now in the portal since he played the 7-foot freshman in just seven Mountain West games for a total of 30 minutes. Alford also didn’t allow Gardner to step on the floor in the Pack’s 63-60 loss to Dayton in the NCAA Tournament.

Alford practically shoved Gardner into the portal this year.


The loss of Gardner leaves the Pack with just one legitimate center on the roster. Jeriah Coleman is 7-foot-1 but he played in just 16 games and 50 total minutes all of last season and scored all of a dozen points with 15 rebounds and seven blocks.

He’s likely still on the roster because he wasn’t a four-star recruit and was merely an Alaska high school product who had to go to Saint Francis and Clarendon College before coming to Nevada.

K.J. Hymes (6-10) started at center last year for the Pack and averaged 5.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and nearly a block a game to go along with 2.7 fouls. But his eligibility finally expired after six seasons.

Alford now needs to find at least three important pieces for 2024-25 to help replace the departed Kenan Blackshear (point guard), Jarod Lucas (shooting guard), Gardner and Hymes.

When Alford dips into the portal he will find Utah State center Great Osobor staring back at him.

Osobor, who also entered the portal this week, is 6-foot-8 and averaged 17.7 points 1.4 blocks and 9.0 rebounds this past year for the Aggies.

Osobor played with coach Danny Sprinkle at Montana State for two years before going to Utah State with Sprinkle before last year. Sprinkle, though, recently took the job at Washington, so expect Osobor to follow him to the Huskies shortly.


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