One thing you can say about the Athletics is that their offseasons are never, ever dull. They don't sit around wringing their hands for news.
It appears like the inevitable will finally soon be announced. The Oakland Athletics are going to be moving to Fremont, California. (can you believe they misspelled Lew Wolff's name?)
This will obviously disenfranchise many an Oakland resident, but ultimately, we all knew this was coming. Many of us didn't want it to happen, but the truth is that Oakland has much greater problems to deal with than whether or not they can keep our Athletics. On the grand scale of societal issues, placating a major league team was way down on the list with many thanks due to how Al Davis screwed the city.
Any way, I feel much the same way about this as I do about Ron Washington leaving. A legacy will be lost, and likely a bit of soul along with it. At the same time, the opportunities for the A's (don't know whether to call them the "Oakland" A's now or not) will be abundant in Fremont. They should be able to draw quite a few businesses from the Silicon Valley just because of the team's proximity to those businesses now. And we all know in this new sports world where the real money is...it isn't from John Q. Public and his measly season tickets, it's from huge corporate sponsors and luxury boxes. The Coliseum, while it's a nice home, was essentially destroyed by Mount Davis.
There are many different ways this can work out. This can wind up being a Pirates situation where the new ballpark doesn't do much for the team in terms of attendance OR as I think it will probably go, a new ballpark is a drawing card for Californians. Californians are a different breed. While many of us here on AN live and die with every single move our A's make, the majority of those who follow baseball casually in the Bay Area probably don't realize Macha has been fired and Ron Washington is now the manager of a rival team. In order to fill a stadium regularly, you need to get those people there. And I'm sorry, but the Coliseum was woefully inadequate on nights when it was full. I remember going to the ALCS game and not being able to move in the walkways just to go get a freaking soda. It would take 20 minutes to a half an hour just to get to the front of a line and order a Mountain Dew.
I'm hoping that the A's work some elements of the Coliseum into the new stadium, like I love the excessive foul ground because it shows off players amazing abilities (like Chavez), but the truth is that I'm going to miss that old concrete bowl. It's given me a lot of great memories.
Again, I know many of you are going to be pissed off about this, but I'd like to think that the A's being able to stop losing players like Tejada, Giambi, Hudson, Mulder and Zito will help alleviate your pain. More revenues from a stadium means more long-term Athletics. Fortunately, many of those players broke down after they left the A's, but many fans are still attached to those players.
I'm excited about the concept of a new stadium and what it could do to help the A's in the long-term. I don't think it means that they will be more likely to re-sign someone like Zito this year, but when some of the other contracts come up down the road, like Nick Swisher and Milton Bradley, perhaps the A's open the wallet a little more. It also puts a little needle right into the Giants because the A's are essentially moving right next door to where the Giants draw the majority of their fanbase. The tide may turn in the Giants/A's casual fan battle just by simple geography.
Any way, right now, it still remains speculation until we see it in multiple places. It's funny, I told an AN member as we were leaving our last game this year, I think the A's are going to announce a move to Fremont this offseason. I just didn't expect it to happen so soon.
What do you think, AN? Good move? Bad move? Could the A's have done anything to remain in Oakland? Or was this destiny?
I can say this, I'm just happy the team is staying in the East Bay. Hopefully they retain the name "Oakland Athletics" as well. Hell, if the Pistons can do it, why can't the A's? Then again, calling themselves the "San Jose Athletics" might be advantageous to garnering additional business support. Just don't call yourselves something silly like, "The Bay Area Athletics of Fremont."