Could Tom Hanks pull a Ryan Reynolds and help keep the A’s in Oakland?

Tom Hanks is wearing a baseball cap while throwing the first pitch before the start of a Japanese professional baseball game.
Tom Hanks throws the first pitch before the start of a Japanese professional baseball game between the Yomiuri Giants and the Chunichi Dragons in Tokyo in May 2009.
(Koji Sasahara / Associated Press)
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First, a concise recap of the state of professional sports in Oakland, courtesy of East Bay native Tom Hanks:

“We’ve lost the Raiders.”

“The Warriors moved to San Francisco.”

“And now they’re going to take the A’s out of Oakland.”

Then, a pause for dramatic effect followed by five words that sum up the feelings of all Oakland sports fans toward the owners responsible for the mass exodus:

“Damn them all to hell,” said Hanks, who’s shown he can be a little tough in movies. He did manage the Rockford Peaches in “A League of Their Own.”


The line drew laughter from Hanks’ audience, which likely didn’t contain too many Oakland sports fans. While promoting his first book, “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles last month, the actor answered questions from audience members read to him by event moderator John Horn.

The Nevada legislature approved $380 million in taxpayer money to build the Athletics a new ballpark in Las Vegas.

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One was: “Could you please buy the Oakland A’s to keep them in Oakland?”

After Hanks delivered the above response, Horn pointed out that “there’s only like 2,000 people showing up to games.” Hanks replied in an exaggerated announcer’s voice, “The greatest fans in all of baseball.”

In April, the Athletics announced their intention to relocate the team to Las Vegas, following in the footsteps of the Raiders, who left Oakland for Vegas in 2020. The A’s move isn’t official yet, but the team has cleared multiple hurdles toward that goal. Last week, Nevada Legislature approved $380 million in taxpayer funds toward a new Las Vegas ballpark.

Standing in seated audience a man holds up a sign that reads "Oakland Forever" and wears a T-shirt with a sign "Sell"
An Oakland Athletics fan holds up a sign protesting the team’s planned move to Las Vegas during a game Sunday between the Athletics and the Philadelphia Phillies in Oakland.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Also last week, fans held a so-called reverse boycott at the Oakland Coliseum in an effort to urge owner John Fisher to sell the team to someone who would keep it in Oakland. Around the same time, a video clip of Hanks’ comments regarding the A’s situation started making the rounds on social media.

It would make sense that fans might view Hanks as a possible savior of the A’s in Oakland. After all, he was born in nearby Concord, Calif.; was a vendor at the Coliseum when he was younger; and made an audio recording of himself as a vendor that was played at the stadium during the fan-free pandemic days. Plus, the two-time Oscar winner announced in 2017 he’d boycott the NFL for two years because of the Raiders’ pending move to Vegas.


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Horn told Hanks onstage, “If Ryan Reynolds can do it in soccer, you can do it in the major leagues,” a reference to actors Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s ownership of the Wrexham AFC soccer team. The remark prompted laughter and a smattering of applause from the L.A. audience, but Oakland fans probably won’t be as happy with Hanks’ response to the suggestion that he attempt to purchase a team that Forbes has valued at $1.18 billion.

“I haven’t done that well, guys,” he said.