Allen Stiles with an A's report on Sactown Sports 1140. Allen Stiles with an A’s report on Sacramento sports radio. (Sactown Sports 1140 on YouTube.)

Major sports news can sometimes come from unexpected sources. We’ve seen everyone from Reddit users to liquor store employees to retired coaches break surprising news. However, that news is usually about particular players or coaches signing somewhere, rather than developments that would impact an entire league. So it would be quite stunning if Sacramento sports radio host Allen Stiles happened to beat a whole army of MLB insiders (to say nothing of team beat reporters) to the news that the Oakland A’s “could temporarily shut down” rather than find a place to play for the 2025-27 seasons (after their Oakland Coliseum lease expires and before their Las Vegas stadium is ready):

Here’s video of this discussion:

And here’s more from that piece on the station’s website, quoting comments Stiles made on-air Tuesday:

A Bay Area source told Sactown Sports’ Allen Stiles that the idea of ceasing operations between 2025 through 2028 has been floated.

“So basically, between 2025 and 2028, Major League Baseball would run with 29 teams. And when 2028 comes around, they would basically do an expansion draft,” Stiles said. “Those players would be able to sign with other teams… and then we refresh everything in 2028 in Vegas.”

Sactown Sports has reached out to the A’s organization about this information but has not yet heard back from the team.

Even the “Bay Area source” description there (which is also how Stiles described this on air at the start of the clip) is curious. That implies that this isn’t a team source. And it’s unclear who other than a team source or a league source would have accurate information on the A’s franchise planning to “temporarily shut down” rather than find a place to play. It’s perhaps possible to envision an A’s representative saying that to a local official they were negotiating with in an attempt for leverage, and the local official then anonymously relaying that to the media. But that should be taken with huge grains of salt in that case.

Beyond that, the idea of MLB going from 30 to 29 teams for a few years seems quite difficult to achieve. That would have to be negotiated with the MLBPA, as that would eliminate 40 major league roster spots (26 active), to say nothing of the organizational pipeline (or of the front office and coaching jobs, but those aren’t MLBPA-covered). And that would also mean less MLB games overall, which would likely affect TV and sponsorship deals. And that’s to say nothing of the scheduling headache of working with 29 teams rather than 30.

Meanwhile, it seems quite possible that one of the many minor-league parks out there would be quite capable of hosting the A’s for a few seasons. Indeed, the team is reportedly already considering locations in Utah and Las Vegas, in addition to the possibility of sharing San Francisco’s Oracle Park with the Giants. And more venues could be added to that list, maybe including in areas like Nashville that have been trying to position themselves as candidates for MLB expansion.

So it seems like it would be absolutely massive news if a “temporary shutdown” was being seriously considered instead of those options. And it would seem likely that one of the many national MLB figures out there would have gotten at least some inkling of it before a Sacramento radio host. To date, this has not been reported by anyone else.

But you never know for sure if a report will prove right or not until the events in question do or do not come to pass. And Stiles did caveat this with just “has been floated,” so it’s hard to definitively refute. (Even a “No, this hasn’t been discussed” from the A’s isn’t necessarily enough there, and it’s impossible for outside outlets to get both-sides denials here considering how vague Stiles was about his source.) And if this does somehow happen, we’ll gladly add Stiles to the list of improbable insiders breaking news. But that seems like a long shot at this point.

[Sactown Sports 1140 on YouTube]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.