This name change discussion will likely be heating up this week with the announcement on Fremont coming tomorrow (at least according to initial reports). I went to a party on Saturday night in the Bay Area and discussed the A's move with several folks. They thought the idea of a team being called the Fremont A's was ridiculous. I told them that I agreed. The A's would suddenly have the smallest market name in professional sports. It'd be extremely minor league (Pawtucket Red Sox) to be called the Fremont A's. I've said several times that my gut instinct tells me it's going to wind up being the San Jose Athletics, but if Fremont is going to bend over backwards to get the A's the name could potentially be a part of the deal. Hopefully not, but you never know what's going on behind closed doors.
But I had a dream last night that the A's not only changed the first part of their name, but they also just decided to completely rebrand themselves as the San Jose Cougars. Maybe it's because I heard that Chevy ad with the John Mellencamp song in it right before I went to bed? Of course, the name is ridiculous and I don't think the ownership group would ever go there.
Yet I did wake up realizing that since so many of us were focusing on the name of the city that would appear in front of name, it never even crossed my mind that the A's would ever not take the name "Athletics" with them.
I mean this team survived the move from Philadelphia to Kansas City to Oakland with the A's name in tact. Course, they did change from their old blue to green and gold and white shoes with the infamous Charlie Finley at the helm, but I just don't see it happening. Or maybe I just CAN'T see it happening. There is far too much tradition wrapped up in the name Athletics. This franchise has been nomadic throughout its existence but one thing that always been a constant and that has been the Athletics.
Course nothing is ever a certainty. Wolff and company could argue that with the move and change of venue (and possibly city name in the front) made it's time to upgrade to a name that people in the South Bay could feel is their very own. Maybe they go in the other direction and call themselves the San Jose Sloths? Hey, many would say that is an adequate name for our boys on the basepaths any way.
Ultimately, I think the dream was just my subconscious trying to tell me that while I'm extremely excited about the prospect of our green and gold competing with bigger markets, I'm afraid of losing that all important identity that's wrapped up in the name Athletics. People, including Billy Beane, have said for years that you are rooting for the name on the front of the jersey instead of the name on the back. Maybe that's why you saw the team wearing those alternate third jerseys with "Athletics" on it so many times this year? But if they change that too, then what have we been rooting for all these years? The colors green and gold?
Again, I'll state this one more time. I don't think that ownership would ever change the Athletics portion of the equation. But until I hear them definitively say that they won't, there will be a little part of me that's paranoid about it. Guess that's what happens when you've been rooting for laundry for so long.