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Elephant Rumblings: Contemplating a post-Oakland A’s future

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Oakland Athletics Team Meeting and Workout Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

It’s Friday, Athletics Nation.

I’m headed to Portland for a long weekend today, and I wouldn’t mind if the A’s were going that way, too. Alas, it’s “Viva Las Vegas” and Dia de los Muertos in April for Oakland A’s fans. I’m at a bit of a loss right now, and I’m unsure how this relocation bombshell will affect my work in the days and weeks ahead, but I will soldier on as best I can for the time being.

Could I support the A’s in another city? I think so, albeit perhaps reluctantly. Can I support them in Las Vegas? I don’t think so. I’m just not the Vegas type: gambling feels more like throwing money away than entertainment to me. I could follow the A’s to San Jose, or Portland, or just about anywhere on the West Coast, but while Oakland has always been a pretty regular destination for me and therefore a good place to hit up a few games each season, Vegas will never be that. I wouldn’t hate never going there again, to be honest, even though I am one of those rare weirdos who thinks Showgirls is a good movie.

Even if the A’s did wind up in a city that I like to frequent and can identify with, they will still apparently be owned by John Fisher for the foreseeable future, and at this point, resentments have built up such that I feel somewhat inclined to cut ties with any Fisher-owned enterprise. It stings to hear accounts of what may have been, had Bud Selig not brokered the sale of the Oakland A’s to his buddy Fisher in 2005.

At the same time, I never was a fan based on a team’s ownership. I love the history of the A’s franchise, its many successes, and its plucky underdog reputation. I seem to reflexively love any player who dons the green and gold. Baseball is about the players, fans, coaches, and umpires. It’s about the ballpark, with all of its wonderful sights and smells. It isn’t about who owns what—or at least, that is about the last thing I want to think about at a baseball game.

To A’s or not to A’s in a post-Oakland era isn’t ultimately a decision that will be based on logic for me. I will follow my heart, which wants what it wants, and I’m not sure what my heart will be telling me in the next month, year, or decade. I will certainly take some interest in how things go for the franchise in the post-Oakland era. I suspect I will remain a baseball fan and that my allegiances will shift after the last game at the Coliseum has been played, if not sooner.

I love baseball, and while I have always been staunchly partisan to the A’s, marvelous things happen with regularity everywhere throughout the sport. If the A’s cease to be my lens into the wonderful world of baseball, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find another view that will satisfy me. I’m much less sure that I’ll ever develop quite the affinity for another team that I’ve had for the A’s.

Hope for a better future has gotten me through lean years in the past, but hope for the A’s to remain Rooted in Oakland seems to have dissipated. That makes it harder to enthusiastically follow a 3-16 team just to look for signs of a better future in development—in the form of young players like Esteury Ruiz, Shea Langeliers, and Mason Miller. But dang if I’m not still curious to see how those guys can bear down and perform for a deeply troubled franchise. They’ve still got all their skin in the game.

AN’s founder has already relinquished his fandom of the A’s and MLB. But dispositions in the community are mixed. I’ve seen comments from some of you indicating that you’ll be along for the ride to Vegas, albeit perhaps reluctantly. And maybe I will be too—just because green and gold are in the blood pumping through my heart. But honestly, I doubt it.

Whatever happens, I am grateful that while quite late to the party, I eventually found this community. You have made being an A’s fan a lot more fun over the past five years or so. Thank you, Athletics Nation!

I hope I can also safely say on behalf of AN: thanks to fans from elsewhere around the league and the baseball journalism community for the outpouring of support for A’s fans—and condemnation of this shortsighted move. You get it, and we appreciate that.

A’s Coverage:

MLB News & Interest:

Best of Twitter:

Let’s kick this section off with a bit of wonderful news.

Smoke up in on relocation.

Simple truths.

Thao is not having it.

Ken Rosenthal has some choice words for Fisher.

Things do feel rather upside-down.