The A's aren't going anywhere...yet. Like, oh, say about five years and possibly longer. Why? Let's look at the facts, which always get in the way of a good story.
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Oakland A's. Get used to it.
Of course, if you read anything online, in the papers, the A's have been moving to, hold on now, San Jose, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Portland, Denver, have I left out anyone?
Truth is, the A's aren't going anywhere...yet. Like, oh, say about five years and possibly longer. Why? Let's look at the facts, which always get in the way of a good story.
San Jose. Yeah, great climate. Silicon Valley. Tons of corporate cash and available land. Lew Wolff loves San Jose. Owns lots of real estate there, including the Fairmont Hotel. Makes sense. Just like Fremont did.
Only a few problems about San Jose. You know, they're about to lay off hundreds of police and firemen in San Jose. The city has a $116 million budget deficit. Go figure. You think the citizens of San Jose want to subsidize a "privately-financed" stadium? I don't think so. I know about polls saying that 62% of the people there are in favor of a new stadium, but if you read the East Bay Express, uh, that poll has a lot of flaws in it.
And we know that Bud Selig, the MLB commish, wants desperately the A's to relocate away from the Coliseum, if only Bud were to be able to control, in order, a. reality, b. the economy, c. the world, (which is kind of like the economy and reality combined) d. elections, e. money, f. SF Giants, territorial rights, I could go on, but you get my drift, right? Of course.
See, lets dream a bit and say the A's are moving tomorrow...to San Jose, for instance. That's about three years right there to build a stadium if you take into account land issues, infrastructure updates, that kind of thing. And ther're not breaking ground tomorrow, last I checked. Come to think of it, when's the last time any new stadium was built in California? Ok, yeah, Petco Park in San Diego back in the good old days of 2004 when the economy was rolling, business was flourishing, and the word, "recession" was not in the lexicon. For heaven's sake, they can't even build a new football stadium down in LA, with about a gazillion billionaires and Hollywood cash!!
We don't build a lot of new stadiums in California. Its not how we do things, and even if we do, we tend to want to think seriously about these things, especially when it comes from our wallets, you dig? Just ask the Giants, who in spite of paying for their great waterfront ballpark, had to endure three elections and a good economy to get their yard, (with millions courtesy of the city and county of SF.)
A few months ago, right around the 7400th mention of the "A's are moving to San Jose" story, I called Andy Dolich, who was the Oakland A's business wizard under the Haas family ownership in the 80's and early 90's. He correctly pointed out that, "Rich, the A's have been 'moving for the past 25 years...they've been in Oakland since 1967 and I think they'll be there for a lot longer."
1967? I forgot. That's 43 years. And I know 2010 is an Oakland season and I believe 2011 and 2012 is just around the corner. Are you beginning to get my drift?
There's no denying the A's need a new stadium. The old place looks sort of dank and dull and is really a football stadium for the Oakland Raiders. Fine. That's reasonable, only the A's are probably there for the forseeable future. You have issues out there like the Giants, the economy, (hate to keep bringing that up, but seriously) litigation from someone, maybe citizens, the Giants, Oakland people, SJ peeps, you know, things like that....
Then there's baseball too. Personaally, I think Mr. Selig is in the proverbial hornet's nest and hasn't a clue what the hell to do. I think he has a dilemma; his buddy and college roomie, Lew wants the southbay and so does Bud, but Lew don't have no kind of cash the Giants would need to get to give away the rights to the Silicon Valley because those rights pay for all that corporate cash and the millions on that new, special, beautiful ballpark on that McCovey cove that has a big mortgage, you know what I mean...Yeah, so as we all wait for that special report that good old Bud Selig said we'd see over a year ago, me thinks nothing really will matter.
Will MLB "recommend" that the A's move to San Jose? Great. Now what? And I'd love to date Halle Berry.
MLB could always threaten the "contraction" card and eliminate Oakland off the MLB map, but if they did that, they could set a dangerous precedent, which could ultimately mess up their anti-trust exemption. Hello Congress.
Do I think the A's are long for Oakland? No. A waterfront ballpark in Jack London Square sounds great on paper, but things like that require a lot of cash and patience and in Oakland, things like that are lacking too. We don't have particularly pragmatic politicians over here and even Jerry Brown figured that out; too bad Jerry wasn't a sports fan because he really had one helluva plan hatched up by ex-city pol, Robert Bobb, who suggested a perfectly glorious, sensible area to build a new baseball-only park across the street from the Fox Theatre, but instead is now one of the 10,987 condos in Downtown Oakland. Thanks Jerry, you blew it bigtime on that one, but nobody's perfect.
Oh, back to the A's.
Wait a few years. Listen to me and consider all the options. Seriously, I think the A's biggest threat is to move out of the state, but where? Vegas? Nope, (gambling, lack of interest, stadium, the, yes, economy) San Antonio? Please, be serious. Portland? Yeah, good luck with that. Sacramento? Not a chance. Back to square one.
Wollf could sell the team, but he's making too much money to do that, but if he can't get SJ and is "stuck" with Oakland, then all bets are off. He could, get this, work with the probable new mayor, Don Perata, who has the "Gulianni of Oakland" moniker all over his resume and could actually GET THINGS DONE in the 510, but again, maybe I'm being too optimistic. I tend to dream a little myself; hell, I'm the one who outlandishly suggested about 200x that the most SIMPLE solution and ONE THAT WOULD MAKE THE MOST SENSE!!, was to simply build a new park on the EXISTING COLISEUM!! site in the north parking lot where there is AVAILABLE FREE LAND, NEXT TO BART AND GREAT FREEWAY ACCESS, THAT COULD GET BUILT IN 3 YEARS!!, but that lasted about five minutes, so now, here we are again, at the poker table deciding our next move.
Lew Wolff has a pair of 10's, the city of Oakland has three 9's, but the dealer is MLB/San Jose. What's their hand? Don't know. Neither do they.
The problem with all of these machinations by Lew Wolff and MLB is that Oakland fans feel alienated and baseball is dying a slow death to many faithful Oakland A's fans.
They have everything in Oakland if they just embraced the city and the fans. MLB enjoys destroying potential great markets with negativity and uncertainty.
That's for sure.