Watching the fans, the team and the city of San Francisco get into the Giants postseason is fascinating in a way. The team's home is secured for the next 100 years or so. Stars like Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Madison Bumgarner, Sergio Romo and Tim Lincecum are still around from the first WS. They have a beautiful ballpark and the seventh highest payroll in baseball. Their owners don't mind spending to retain their talent, because they know the return is great. Watching the Giants is like observing a foreign country.
The team has had some down years in between but they have gripped the city and brought it together like almost nothing else.There has been a ridiculous amount of news and commentary about the changing landscape of the city due to the influx of young, high salaried tech workers and the exodus of families, minorities, artists, and non-tech creative types. Walking around during the playoffs I actually see these various facets of the population all coalescing around the Giants. The Giants might be the only thing these people have in common.
Us A's fans, meanwhile, have no idea where our team will be in five years, we play in a stadium that some of us sentimentally love but all of us agree is not in great shape. Our favorite players, all-stars even, routinely get traded or jettisoned. The A's might have had a chance to bring the various factions of the City of Oakland together, but they have failed in the playoffs in miserable ways so many times that the city has never really gotten a chance to expand that bandwagon and enjoy and embrace this team. We try to get cash considerations back in trades because the owners can't or won't justify spending significantly on talent with their current revenue base.
Given the drastic differences between the two teams and situations, the A's have been marginalized in the Bay Area. Yet the fanbase remains loyal, eclipsing 2,000,000 in attendance this season despite the umpteen factors making it so much easier to be a Giants fan here. It seems that so long as the A's keep finding a way to win, they really are not going to be any worse off even if the Giants win their third World Series tonight.
Can MLB allow this display of riches on one side of the Bay and paupers on the other continue indefinitely? I would like to believe, win or lose the World Series, the fact that the A's are shedding salary and talent in a winning season while watching the Giants sign Posey and Pence to long term deals, the Giants making an extended run after another A's first round exit, an election coming up in the city of Oakland, a new lease completed with the Coliseum, and of course with that snake Bud Selig out of the mix...something must tip the scales in the A's favor.
Before the postseason I thought another Giants title might just kill the A's in the Bay Area for good. But as I look at how strong the support of A's fans was in 2014 despite literally every factor in favor of the Giants, and also at MLB's best prospects to rake in the most revenue, the real victory for MLB would be to turn the Bay Area into a two-team market at the level of Los Angeles. Yes, the Dodgers are more popular, and always will be, but the Angels are making a boatload of money and doing quite well. MLB is all about growing the pie.
Perhaps this latest Giants postseason run can give Rob Manfred the impetus to address the obvious inequities here. I don't think another Giants title makes a whit of difference at this point. The damage is done, it's been done for a while, and yet the A's fanbase refuses to die. Any idiot can see that there is room for two teams in the Bay Area and that collectively revenues for MLB would be far higher with two successful, rich, Bay Area franchises. Maybe this miserable October has put a spotlight on the situation in the commissioner's office now that ole Selig is on his way out.
Basically, I was worried, angry, and now just apathetic about this current iteration of "Even Year Magic" or what have you. Hopefully the Royals will take it, but if not, whatever. If the A's can keep winning, the fans will stick around, and perhaps we might finally see some good news off the field for once.