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Elephant Rumblings: Orioles are the alternate reality A’s

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Baltimore Orioles v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

Just one day after the Angelos family announced they’ve agreed to sell the Baltimore Orioles to David Rubenstein, the team acquired one of the top five pitchers in baseball, former NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes. The organization now has gotten rid of its cheap and maligned owners, agreed to stay in the city for a minimum of 15 years, and added a bonafide ace to an 101-win team with possibly the best young talent pool in baseball.

Behold, the alternate reality A’s.

For the sake of torturing ourselves, possibly to the verge of tears, let’s pathetically play out this alternate reality where everything goes right for the Oakland Athletics.

It’s November of 2018 and the A’s have just unveiled their proposal for a “jewel box” waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal. Media, fans, and officials alike are stunned not only by the design but also by the fact that owner John Fisher is willing to foot the entire bill. Of course, even alternate-reality Fisher doesn’t have a heart; he’s doing it because he knows he’ll get a good return on his dollar and he wants it as soon as possible.

With all stakeholders in the region (even Schitnzer Steel!) backing the plan, approvals are swiftly completed by the end of 2019. Coming off another wild card game elimination with a bright young core of Matt Olson, Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, Sean Murphy, Frankie Montas, and others, the A’s decide to finally start supplementing the team with big free agency moves. They sign the likes of Nicholas Castellanos and even Zach Wheeler (no Phillies bias, they were just the funnest names on the market). To top it off, they trade scraps to get Jed Lowrie from the Mets, magically healing his body in time to have a bounceback 2020 season.

Unfortunately, the pandemic breaks out in Spring Training (look, I can change A’s history but not world history), delaying both the season and construction of the ballpark. No worry though; Howard Terminal is still waiting for things to pick back up and there’ll eventually a 60-game season to be played. When baseball resumes, not only do the A’s steal the division away from the Houston Astros, they sweep them out of the playoffs in the ALDS. They have a tougher opponent waiting in the Tampa Bay Rays but they’re able to squeak out a series win in 7 before falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series (who wants a bubble ring anyways?).

As life begins to resume in 2021, the A’s finally break ground on their Howard Terminal ballpark. Now confident revenue will come pouring in, they begin signing their young core to Braves-esque extensions, selling them on the idea of leading a perennially contending A’s together into a new ballpark for the next decade. Having somehow turned the A’s into a marquee asset, John Fisher cashes out and FINALLY sells the team to a ownership group consisting of Joe Lacob, Rickey Henderson, and Dave Stewart.

In 2023, with the Coliseum on its last legs — chunks of cement are literally falling off, the possums have built their own Planet-of-the-Apes-like society — the team sells out every home game of the season, with fans celebrating the terrifying beauty of their longtime residence. The players unify around Oakland and push themselves to their third straight World Series, finally getting over the hump and winning the Bay Bridge Series against Farhan Zaidi’s San Francisco Giants in the last ballgame ever played at the Coliseum. Billy Beane, Bob Melvin, and everyone in the organization finally get their long-deserved rings.

Epilogue: The Coliseum shuts its doors and the Oakland Stadium opens to the public in 2024, getting rave reviews from fans and media. The team’s owners never step foot in or even mention Las Vegas. Rob Manfred gives the city of Oakland credit for helping bring this vision to life and ensuring Major League Baseball and the A’s stay in Oakland for generations to come. The team on the field is thriving and Athletics Nation is... satisfied.

*eyes open* Woah, what just happened? I think I just woke up from a fever dream. Is John Fisher still owner? Are the A’s still embarrassing themselves in Vegas? Did we really get fleeced by the Blue Jays again??

Sigh. Anyways, off to the weekend. Have a good one, y’all.

A’s Coverage:

MLB News & Interest:

Best of X:

Sell the team.

Time to rebrand to the Las Vegas V’s.