Ready or not, San Jose Athletics appear to be coming

This just looks all kinds of wrong:

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via a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net

From BANG's Joe Stiglich:

If the team does indeed move to San Jose, they will be called the "San Jose A’s," which has been assumed. Wolff pointed out how the franchise has moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City to Oakland, always keeping the "Athletics" label. There was a stuffed Stomper on hand at Wednesday’s event, with the A’s mascot wearing a "San Jose Athletics" uniform.

I know I've heard it, typed it, thought it... but until I saw the Stomper doll with "San Jose" where "Oakland" should be, it didn't really sink in.

It doesn't look right. Doesn't feel right. Doesn't seem right.

As A's fans, we've had time to prepare for this. This isn't the Baltimore Colts scooting out of town for Indianapolis in Mayflower trucks. Ken Griffey Jr. was the AL MVP the first time the A's and San Jose were linked. Lew Wolff has been the A's owner for seven years.

San Jose always felt like something on the horizon. The horizon just felt thousands of miles away, thanks to Bud Selig's Blue Ribbon Panel. It's getting closer, especially because of the 86'ing of redevelopment agencies. Oakland now can't afford to pursue Victory Court. There's still Coliseum City, but this feels more like a last-second Hail Mary (sorry, Patriots fans).

But seeing "San Jose Athletics" in type and on Stomper's back makes everything feel a little more real. And it makes me feel a little more sick. I'm somewhat of a moderate when it comes to ballpark issues. I love Oakland, but I've never lived there. I don't have the same lifelong ties that many fans do, but I understand them. I was born in 1986 and lived most of my life in the East Bay. The "Oakland" Athletics are all I've ever lived with. I don't associate myself with the South Bay or San Francisco. I live about an hour away from the Coliseum now, so I can't make it out to more than a few games. I also can't really afford much. Moving the team to San Jose screws me over, making it even more of an ordeal to see a ballgame.

I love the civic pride that Oaklanders have. Yeah, it's not San Francisco. It's not San Jose. It's not Los Angeles. They wouldn't have it either way. They don't want Oakland to be looked at as better or worse than other big cities in California. It's the unique child of the Bay Area. Oakland is blue collar. San Jose is white collar. Moving from Oakland to San Jose feels a little like your favorite garage band getting that big record deal making them set for life, but knowing that they'll be playing pop music and worrying about CD and iTunes sales from now on.

However, at the same time, I know the beloved Coliseum is outdated. I've been to the newer ballparks such as AT&T Park, Petco Park and Coors Field. I'm jealous of the wide-open space, of the upkeep and of the general positive demeanor. These places welcome fans, and not just the diehards.

Last year, I went to a Dodgers/Giants game for work. It was interesting watching a baseball game and having no rooting interests. I was just an impartial observer. This was a Monday night in the middle of the season. Neither team really had serious playoff aspirations. Other than positioning toward the bottom of the NL West and bragging rights, not much was at stake. The pitching matchup featured neither a Lincecum nor a Kershaw.

It was a sellout.

It wasn't just a sellout, it felt like I was watching Game 7 of the World Series. Fans — these same fans we chide for drinking a $12 glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and playing with their iPhones during the game — were cheering with vigor, and not just for fights in the stands or because the scoreboard told them to.

It was beautiful.

It was heartbreaking. I haven't experienced anything close to that in the Coliseum since 2006. I knew that I'd probably never see that in Oakland again.

I've gotten absolutely sick of going to games against the Yankees, Red Sox or Giants and feeling like a visitor in the home stadium. Moving to San Jose would make it so the A's might actually keep one or two of these new players (allegedly... I have my reservations). I'd like to be able to buy a shirsey of Sonny Gray or AJ Cole or Michael Choice in a few years and not worry that it will be outdated next season. I get the sense that San Jose's fanbase would embrace the A's, much like they do the Sharks, who have a passionate following all over the Bay Area (then again, the Ducks aren't next door).

Getting a new stadium would make the A's relevant again. Not just in the Bay Area, but around baseball. The buzz around a new stadium lasts for years, if you do it properly. I want the A's to get a new stadium. I just really, really, really wish it could be in Oakland.

However, to do that, to get that full stadium, that buzz, that shiny new toy... it involves "selling out." It seemed kinda cool at first, but actually seeing the seeds being planted... I'm not sure how I feel anymore.

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