The acrimonious and not-all-that-beneficial cohabitation of Mark Davis’s Raiders and the Oakland Athletics should come to a definitive end following this upcoming football season. Construction of the Raiders’ new stadium in Las Vegas is tentatively on schedule to wrap up next July; barring any huge setbacks, the Raiders will open the 2020-21 season on the fancy removable turf pan of their brand new digs. I use the word “should” up there because, these being the Raiders, it would not surprise anyone if their new stadium explodes into a cloud of shrapnel when too many toilets are flushed at the same time:
Once all the plumbing in the stadium is complete the team will test out how the sewer system will handle a spike in use tied to a typical stadium-level event.
Dubbed the “big flush,” every toilet and urinal will be flushed at the same time as all the faucets in the stadium are turned on.
Webb expects the big flush in June.
“We’re going to try and overload the system,” Webb said. “I’m serious. We’re going to play out what happens during a sold out NFL stadium.”
In the meantime, the Raiders will play this season at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which they’ve been continuously sharing with the Athletics since 1995. This final season was an unanticipated fallback resolution, reached after Davis failed to find literally any other viable option after he’d determined to move his franchise to Las Vegas. The current, temporary setup manages to be even less appealing for the Raiders than normal—Davis’s lease at the Coliseum expired after last season, and between then and the time when he and the Athletics agreed to proceed with an arrangement for this season, the Athletics yanked out a bunch of seats, reconfigured a couple areas, and wiped out 2,500 Raiders season ticket spots.
Meanwhile, the Athletics are working on a deal to buy Alameda County’s 50 percent stake in the Coliseum site, a plan that is not especially popular with the Oakland City Council, which would very much prefer the county send its shares their way instead. The county is looking to “exit the sports business altogether”; the team wants to build a new waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal; members of the Council would prefer for the city to own the Coliseum site outright, in order to decide the best path forward for its use. It’s not the messiest stadium negotiation of all time, but neither is it the smoothest. Davis was asked about all this on Thursday by Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic, in an otherwise strikingly soft interview. Davis did not hold back:
Are you following the A’s stadium situation?
No, not at all. Unfortunately, there’s a problem there. As far as the players and everybody, we love the A’s. We seriously do. But the front office has been real pricks. They’ve been really fucking around with us up there, taking advantage of the situation. Which, it is their right to do it, but it makes it hard. Again though, we love the players, we love the A’s.
And now it looks like there might be an issue on the Oakland city end about selling the Coliseum land to the A’s while the county is on board with that deal?
They’re fucking totally dysfunctional. It’s that fucking bad over there.
A few hours later, Davis was on the horn with Paul Gutierrez of ESPN, expressing regret over the specific way he communicated his criticisms of the Athletics’ brass:
“I am not sorry for the things I said,” Davis said in a phone call. “But I am sorry for the way I said them.”
However jacked up and acrimonious the stadium negotiations are between the Athletics and the city of Oakland, it’s more than a little rich for Mark Davis, owner of the vagabond Raiders, currently fending off self-inflicted homelessness when a whole half of the country told them to go screw, to be calling another sports franchise dysfunctional.