We will be updating all the latest news, including the manager search and the 'Frank Thomas on Turf Watch' throughout the day--stay tuned.
"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."
-- Niccolo Machiavelli
"Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
--John F. Kennedy
"An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way rapidly winning over and converting its opponents; it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning."
You'd have to be living on a desert island to not be a part of the controversy that is swirling over the Athletics (Oakland or otherwise) the last few days with their seemingly imminent move from Oakland to Fremont, a decision that has turned the hot stove musings into a dispute between those who bitterly oppose the move, and those who welcome it. If I could pull it off, I'd make a joke about how the AN store is now carrying Team Oakland and Team Of Fremont partisan shirts, but I am not naïve enough to boil down the issue to that level of simplicity. This battle is not waged between Fremont and Oakland; I doubt there more than a select few that, all other things being equal, would choose to change cities, but unfortunately, like with many unwelcome decisions, the options are far from being equal.
First of all, I cannot pretend that I have any understanding of what it's like to have my favorite sports team located in the city I live in and love. I do not currently live in Oakland; the closest I've ever lived was fifty miles north, and my only attachment to the city is the name in front of my team. At the risk of offending the rest of the Bay Area, I also happen to think unless you are a resident of the city of Oakland, your reaction to the move simply cannot be the same as someone who is losing a team from the immediate city. And granted, while I may not understand this, I certainly understand, all too well, the sentiment of living in a city that is much-maligned.
I live in Los Angeles, not because of necessity, or any prevailing tether, but simply because I love this city. Literally, the only thing this city is missing is my Bay Area friends and family, and my Athletics. I've been a transient A's fan for seven years now, and probably always will be, although if I'm honest, instead of Fremont, I was hoping that the press conference yesterday would involve the A's and the Angels trading places.
I've heard much sentiment from Oakland residents about how the A's fan base is primarily in Oakland, but I would beg to differ. Athletics Nation alone probably has at least as many NRAFs (Non-Resident A's Fans) as Oakland ones, and that number could someday rival Bay Area A's fans as well. For most of us, provided we can separate the sentiment of the 'Oakland' name from our Athletics, the move will not affect us. When you are driving hundreds of miles for a game or flying several thousand, twenty miles in either direction is negligible. We simply do not share the sense of loss that pervades the locals, and as a result, we look at beautiful pictures of a new stadium, and the promise of a real payroll, and we are excited, if not ecstatic, over our fortune.
However, we must take the time, ourselves, to grieve for once was, in these the final years of the Oakland A's, and if we cannot, we must allow for others to be angry, saddened, and feel a great sense of loss; which is ever bit as real and valid as our sense of excitement. But once the mourning period has passed, we will find ourselves here, with the future of the A's rolling along at full-steam, and we must either join the movement, or get out of the way.
Some of you have chosen to leave the A's over this move, which again, is totally up to you, and a valid decision. However, it is one that I simply cannot understand. I don't understand how in the world someone who followed at least a hundred and sixty-two games a year for many years, with the fervent passion that we all share, can give up on a team that still exists. The Athletics are not gone; they were not eliminated from the league. They will still be the same A's who moved from Philadelphia, to Kansas City, to Oakland, and now to Fremont. No two people on this entire website can agree on one thing about religion or politics, or how we feel about Chavez, or the AN ads, or the manger search--not even the front page writers--but the bottom line used to be that we were all A's fans, and that bound us together as a united front.
And not much should have changed, because the bottom line is simple: There is no option to stay in Oakland.
You can blame the city of Oakland for that travesty, you can blame the political/economic leaders, you can blame the A's ownership and management; you can even blame Dan Johnson, but what you can't deny is that no one outside of Fremont has come up with anything resembling a Plan B, which means that, as of right now, Plan A is not only a plan, but it's the plan, and it's also the only way the A's are staying in the Bay Area. If for nothing else than that reason alone, it seems like the entire Bay Area A's fan base--Oakland included--should probably be taking a hard look at who they're calling 'a sell-out', a 'money-grubber', 'a no soul opportunist', and 'someone who doesn't care about the fans'.
Will there be change? Of course. Will we lose things that we loved about the Coliseum? Of course. But to assume that everything will be automatically worse because of the move seems a bit shortsighted, if not completely untrue. I may be speaking solely for myself, but I'm sick and tired of playing David to the Yankees' Goliath, and the red-headed-step-child to the Bay Area. We have a better team than the Giants, but you'd never know it when you look at the KNBR powerhouse or run a stadium comparison. Not to mention; we have one of the best GM's in the business, and it's about time he actually got some dollars to use. And Billy's right; it would be pretty great for kids of this generation to be able to root for more than laundry.
If the decision to quit rooting for the A's is about conviction, then I firmly support that decision. However, if it's simply about convenience, well, you may want to ask any one of us who follow the A's from a distance about the sacrifices we make to follow a non-local team. You'll hear stories about us sitting at bars and watching the ticker on the bottom of the screen because our game isn't televised because our team is virtually invisible outside its fan base. Ask East Coast A's fans about their sleeping schedule during the baseball season. Ask me about refreshing a website over and over and over again to follow a game. Ask any of us about the amount of money we've spent on flights to see the team that some of you have in your backyard. Ask me about the joy of XM radio, and about the invention of MLB Extra Innings Package. Then, try to tell me that you're giving up on your fandom simply because the A's plan on moving twenty miles away from Oakland.
But hey, maybe it's just me that would choose to follow the Athletics if they played on the moon. Good thing it's only Fremont.