Ladies and Germs of Athletics Nation, I rise to make the case for my ownership of the Oakland Athletics. I am tired of the soft-hearted, profligate ways of John Fisher. His family has spent 17 years trying to give the East Bay a billion dollars for a brand spanking new stadium. Now he has upped that ante to $12 billion to give Oakland more housing, more parks, and less port grunge. What a damn weenie!
No wonder the A’s have only won 341 games in the last five years. According to Baseball Reference, Fisher shelled out $94.5 million on last year’s team that missed the playoffs despite the presence of the greatest players of all time: Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Starling Marte, Mark Canha, Josh Harrison, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt, and Sean Manaea. (At least, that is my recollection.) Fisher is obviously too soft to own the A’s. He is a rich, real estate guy who inherited his wealth from his parents. The nerve of those people.
Why shouldn’t I own the A’s? I am a devoted A’s fan which means I know better than the Front Office how to build a team. I am capricious and undisciplined and therefore perfectly capable of calling in A.J. Puk to pitch the 9th inning of a Frankie Montas no-hitter. I am also not rich. (My credit card limit is $20K, max.) Thus, as owner, I will have to be a real penny-pincher, not a phony tightwad like John Fisher.
And that, my friends, is why I must own the A’s. Under Fisher, the Oakland Athletics have strayed from the righteous path of true skinflintery into the dubious realm of multi-billion dollar development projects.
Lest we forget, the A’s wouldn’t even be in Oakland if not for the notorious Scrooge, Charles O. Finley. Now there was a tightwad! In the Misers Hall of Fame, Finley was a first-ballot inductee. In 1974, he paid the entire roster of the three-time World Champion Oakland Athletics, Hall of Fame (real) broadcaster Jon Miller, and M.C. Hammer (Stanley Burrell, batboy) less than Elvis Andrus spends on insurance for his Lamborghini!
[Author’s Note: I don’t really know if Elvis owns a Lamborghini. I don’t actually know what insurance on a Lamborghini costs, either, but go with the joke.]
Unlike Fisher, Charlie Finley was never willing to spend a dime to build his own stadium. He picked garish uniforms and orange baseballs because they were available at a discount. Emulating George Halas, he threw nickels around like they were manhole covers. (Hat tip: Mike Ditka) To save money on payouts, Finley actually fired a player during the World Series! Will John Fisher have the huevos to do that? I think not.
And one more thing: The most successful teams the Oakland Athletics ever produced were the early 1970’s teams of Charles O. Finley. Clearly, skinflintery works. Fisher’s problem is, he’s not cheap enough.
In The Magnificent Seven, the head bandit, Calvera (Eli Wallach) exclaims, “Generosity! That was my first mistake!” That will be the motto of my ownership regime, emblazoned in chalk above the box office windows. On my first day as new owner, I will institute new management practices aimed at returning the A’s to the penurious glory days.
First, I will call off this ridiculously expensive Howard Terminal project. Why continue to grease every politician, bureaucrat, and commissioner between here and Sacramento? I will rent out the Coliseum field to the Aviators. They could just fly in. I’d save on hotel rooms.
The Athletics will play all their games in the Coliseum parking lot. I will give the players a discount on parking, of course. I may be cheap but I am not a barbarian. The players can get team meals from the tailgaters in centerfield…uh, South Lot, Section D.
Second, I will manage both the front office and the team on the field. Why not? Finley did it. (Or maybe that was Ted Turner. Or Ray Kroc. I forget.) Think of the money I could save. I could get rid of Billy Beane and David Forst. I could lay waste to all those superfluous Peter Brands in the front office. As for field management, how hard can it be to pencil in Stephen Vogt (.164) as cleanup hitter?
Third, I will trade any player at any time to any team willing to make a reasonable offer. My players will not have names on the backs of their jerseys. They will be issued backstage credentials (“Admit One”) which they can wear as decorative lavalieres.
Fourth, I will not have long term contracts for any player. Khris Davis signed a three-year contract with the A’s and promptly forgot how to hit a baseball. No more! I will pay players by the inning! And I will pay them on a deferred, Bobby Bonilla basis…in a cyber currency of my own creation!
Last, I will not spend any money on a minor league system to develop players. What a waste! I will just have an open tryout every March. The best 26 guys get on the team. The other three thousand guys get discount season tickets. But they will have to be ready to come out of the stands at a moment’s notice to cover 2nd base.
I’ll bet a team like that could beat the Angels.
Currently, there is only one obstacle to my owning the team: I don’t actually have a billion or so to buy the Athletics. I have started a GoFundMe account, though: Acct. #SOL-0112-35813-213455.
Oh, look! The first donation is from Larry Baer of the Giants!