The Oakland A’s are striving mightily for something they’re never going to get, while ignoring the solution to their problem just 90 miles away.
Even though they have more World Series titles since moving to the Bay Area than their cross-bay rivals, the A’s have always played second fiddle to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants regularly break the 3 million attendance mark while the A’s struggle to attract half that number of people, and Oakland gets the corporate sponsorship crumbs S.F. drops on the floor.
The current owners have been able to survive and even prosper because they have the smartest general manager in baseball, Billy Beane, who has shown the ability to get maximum production out of a small payroll. But A’s management is reaching the point where it will have to make a major decision about the team’s future.
The Oakland Coliseum (I refuse to call it the O.co Coliseum) is an aging structure more suited to football than baseball, with major plumbing and electrical problems occurring on a regular basis. Their lease is up for renewal and Oakland won’t build the A’s a new stadium so they want to move to San Jose.
That’s not going to happen as long as the Giants claim San Jose as part of their exclusive territory. Commissioner Bud Selig has appointed a committee that’s supposed to resolve the matter, but its work has dragged on for more than five years and nobody expects a resolution anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Sacramento, a city that has shown it will support just about any sport, would love to have a major league baseball team. The evidence suggest the A’s could be a big success in the River City.
There are more than enough people within 100 miles of the city to support a major league franchise, and the A’s wouldn’t have to compete with Giants for media attention. The A’s already have a presence in the city with their AAA affiliate, the River Cats, a perennial leader in minor league attendance.
As they showed when the Magoof…I mean Maloof brothers owned the Sacramento Kings, Sacramento fans are loyal regardless of how inept the owners are. They have also shown enthusiasm for second-tier sports such as track and field, soccer and bicycle racing. And they can count on the Sacramento Bee for plenty of positive ink–see its gushing coverage of the Amgen race.
If the A’s are smart, they’ll move to Sacramento before some other team beats them to the punch.