Not literally every year, of course, but as a general concept since 1968 it has seemed to me that the Giants and A's have always fed off each other. When one team gets good and starts drawing attention and attendance, the other team suddenly starts doing things to get better. Maybe to keep their market share, or media attention, or whatever. Could be any number of reasons. I've always wondered if maybe it's a subconscious thing, but is it mere coincidence that both teams are generally pretty good or pretty bad at around the same times?
Now, the Giants have fallen to "suck" status. Their meal-ticket star is gone. All the trendiness and glitter has faded and attendance will surely drop as the "non-fans" find other places to be seen. How does this affect the A's, you say? Well, they no longer have the literal need to work so hard to maintain what status they have. They can relax without fear of being overshadowed into obscurity. They only have to be as good as the Giants, not necessarily better. Is it possible that this is affecting the team's thought process about whether to tear down the team and rebuild or to 'go for it'? After all, if the Giants can't hope to contend again until 2010 or later (as some observers suggest), then the A's may feel they have the luxury of time to do things before the new ballpark opens around the same time.
Just thinkin' out loud. Agree or disagree, that's fine, but I'd be interested in other's thoughts.
I do think that an exception to this may be the Finley era. I have no doubt he wanted to be bigger than Stoneham, but he was also pretty in dependant in having his own motivations, too.