By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Baseball Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Boston Red Sox owner John Henry will soon receive a special “Stay In Oakland” box from Bay Area fans packed with a green Athletics cap, a baseball card featuring his likeness and a note telling him all the reasons he should vote no on the team’s planned relocation to Las Vegas.
They will try to sway Hal Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees, too — another owner identified as someone who could be convinced to vote against Vegas.
They hope Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno might be an ally. Or perhaps Ray Davis of the World Series champion Texas Rangers. Maybe the Seattle Mariners’ John Stanton.
The devoted fan group chose 15 owners to receive the box, selected because maybe — just maybe — there’s one more chance to keep the A’s in Oakland.
This last-ditch effort includes a big assist by clothing company Last Dive Bar, a loyal A’s supporter. It made the boxes and a snazzy, colorful “Keep the Athletics in … OAKLAND” postcard.
“This project has been a culmination of our collective works and we hope it shows the owners what we all know to be true,” Paul Bailey, one of the three owners of Last Dive Bar, said in a message to The AP. “The fans are not the problem.”
Oakland clothing company Oaklandish provided the hats, while the box also features a DVD created by “The Summer of Sell” group, a USB flash drive and a personal letter from Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao along with a photo of her in an A’s jersey. The boxes will arrive from her office address.
“The box is everything that’s been done before in Oakland and why they should vote no,” explained lifelong A’s fan Stephen Lucero, an artist and firefighter in nearby Alameda who made the custom cards for each owner.
Some 200 people crammed the Oakland City Council chambers for a standing-room-only meeting Tuesday and chanted “Stay in Oakland!” in yet another unified effort to keep the team from moving. The City Council unanimously passed a resolution that reaffirmed its support of the A’s staying in Oakland.
MLB owners are expected to vote on the proposed relocation next Wednesday or Thursday during their annual meetings, to be held this year in Arlington, Texas.
The A’s reached a tentative agreement for a new stadium in Las Vegas in May, spurring outrage and frustration during what may have been a lame-duck season in Oakland.
On June 13, furious fans showed up at the Coliseum and implored owner John Fisher to sell the team with what they called a reverse boycott. Thousands wore green “SELL” T-shirts and chanted “Sell the team!” throughout a 2-1 victory against Tampa Bay. A season-best crowd of 27,759 was the largest for an A’s game on a Tuesday since they drew 33,654 against the Dodgers on Aug. 7, 2018.
After the season, A’s pitcher Trevor May ripped Fisher during a video message announcing his retirement. May implored Fisher to “Sell the team, dude. … Sell it, man.”
“Let someone who actually, like, takes pride in the things they own, own something,” he added.
Lucero and wife Chrissy, also his business partner at Steevow Custom Cards, spent hours at City Hall on Tuesday as A’s fans rallied once more to try to save their team.
“Extremely proud,” said the 41-year-old Lucero. “Everybody came together and they continue to, and it’s not going to stop.”
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