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Oakland mayor says MLB commissioner Rob Manfred warned city A’s could move to Las Vegas; Manfred says nothing on tap

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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed in a television interview Tuesday that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred warned city officials that the Athletics could relocate to Las Vegas if the city didn’t drop its lawsuit to stop Alameda County from selling its share of the Coliseum to the team.

Manfred confirmed Tuesday that Las Vegas came up during a meeting with Schaaf, but said there are no plans for the A’s to move.

“In a recent meeting with the mayor of Oakland, I did mention Las Vegas in the context of pointing out that the A’s might have to relocate if a new stadium can’t be built in Oakland,” Manfred told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There is, however, no plan to move to Las Vegas.”

Oakland and Alameda County share ownership of the Coliseum; the city wants the county to sell its half of the stadium to Oakland instead of to the A’s. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the city can’t match the A’s offer of $85 million for the venue.

City Councilman Larry Reid told the newspaper earlier this week that Manfred had made the suggestion that Las Vegas could be a possible relocation site for the A’s in meetings with city officials last week.

“The reports of that are accurate,” Schaaf said in the interview with KTVU-TV. “[Las Vegas] is the city that came out of his mouth.”

Oakland will soon lose its NFL team, the Raiders, to Las Vegas, possibly as soon as 2020. So Manfred’s choice of a possible relocation city was meant to strike a nerve, Schaaf said.

“Obviously he chose his city wisely as far as exposing a pain-point that all Oaklanders feel about losing our sports teams,” she said. She later called the lawsuit “misguided.”

Oakland had sued Alameda County to block its sale of its share of the Coliseum to the A’s and a judge issued a temporary restraining order last week, blocking the transaction. The A’s, who want to build a new stadium at Howard Terminal on the waterfront and redevelop the land around the Coliseum, are hoping it would help subsidize the cost of a privately owned new stadium.

A’s president Dave Kaval said last week that the franchise was “blindsided” by the restraining order being granted.

“I will say, though, that I absolutely see a path to a new ballpark right … at Howard Terminal,” Schaaf said. “As well as really giving the A’s the opportunity to do a community-serving development out at the Coliseum, as well as to maintain that as a background plan. I see this path. I am confident we will get there.”

Schaaf told KTVU that the city’s lawsuit was filed “over my objection.”

“I don’t think that it serves the public when two governmental entities are suing each other,” Schaaf said. “It certainly is my direction that the city and the county work collaboratively. We are co-owners of this land. The board of supervisors are so well-intentioned. They want to do right by their constituents, which are our constituents, so I believe we will get something done collaboratively and put this lawsuit behind us.”

The next court hearing in the city’s lawsuit is scheduled for Nov. 14, according to the Chronicle.

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Ex-Dodgers star Carl Crawford arrested on assault charge

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HOUSTON — Former Los Angeles Dodgers star Carl Crawford has been arrested after his former girlfriend accused him of assaulting her during an argument over a man she had begun dating.

An arrest affidavit filed Wednesday by Houston police states that Crawford went to the home of Gabriele Washington on May 8, produced a handgun from which he unloaded the ammunition in her presence, then demanded information on her latest dating relationship.

Washington told investigators Crawford pushed her to the floor, slammed her head against a wall and choked her. Crawford is free on $50,000 bond.

When her year-old daughter walked up, she distracted Crawford, who is her father, and Washington ran to call police. Crawford then fled but followed up with threatening cellphone texts to Washington, according to the affidavit.

A message to his attorney, Rusty Hardin, seeking comment was not returned immediately.

The incident happened a week before a 5-year-old boy and a woman drowned in the backyard pool at Crawford’s Houston home.

From Houston, the 38-year-old Crawford was a four-time All-Star outfielder. He last played in the major leagues in 2016 with the Dodgers.

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MLBPA stands firm against additional pay cuts, ‘resoundingly’ rejects league’s plan

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Baseball players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July and may leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games.

More than 100 players, including the union’s executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after their offer was rejected by Major League Baseball.

“Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. “The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon. This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward.”

“Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless players agree to further salary reductions,” Clark added.

MLB last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn.

Players countered Sunday with a plan for a 114-game regular season with no pay cuts beyond the prorated salaries they agreed to on March 26. That would leave each player with about 70% of his original pay.

MLB rejected that Wednesday, when Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter to union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer informing him “we do not have any reason to believe that a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible.”

“Nonetheless, the commissioner is committed to playing baseball in 2020,” Halem said in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press. “He has started discussions with ownership about staging a shorter season without fans.”

Management officials have threatened proposing a shortened slate of perhaps 50 games or fewer. There has not been a schedule averaging fewer than 82 games per team since 1879.

“The overwhelming consensus of the board is that players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well,” Clark said in a statement. “The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.”

While baseball has reverted to the economic bickering that led to eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the NBA, NHL and MLS have moved ahead with plans to resume their seasons.

“In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, players want nothing more than to get back to work,” Clark said. “But we cannot do this alone.”

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Ranking every No. 1 overall pick in MLB draft history

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On June 10, the evening of the 56th MLB first-year player draft, some happy amateur baseball star — probably Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson — will become the 55th player to be picked first overall. Yes, there have been more drafts than players picked first. We’ll get to that.

Assuming he eventually reaches the majors, Torkelson will become the third Torkelson to play at the highest level of his sport. There was Red, a pitcher who won two games for the 1917 Cleveland Indians. There was Eric, who was a running back for the Green Bay Packers in the 1970s. I bring up the history of Torkelsons for two reasons. First, when I was a kid, one of my favorite nuggets of trivia was that Eric Torkelson was the brother of Peter Tork of The Monkees. The second reason I bring it up is that the trivia nugget was wrong: It traced back to an on-air gaffe by Howard Cosell.

Whether it’s Torkelson or someone else whose name is called first, we know a couple of things about that player, whoever it will be. One, he’s talented. He is viewed by people in the know as the best draft-eligible ballplayer in the country. Two, that doesn’t necessarily tell you what kind of career he is going to have.

The career outcomes of top overall picks have been wildly disparate. There have been Hall of Famers. There have been All-Stars. There have been average players who lasted a long time. There have been average players who didn’t last very long at all. There have been a few players who never even played in the big leagues. Let’s rank them.

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