Saw That Coming

I’m just surprised it took this long.

The As are threatening to relocate out of Oakland if the city doesn’t roll over and a give the okay for them to build a new ballpark downtown. And, naturally, they have the full support of MLB for a possible move.

This, of course, is only the first step. Once the stadium location is approved, that same threat will be deployed again and again.

Remember, the Athletics currently own half of the Coliseum site and they’re negotiating with the city to buy the other half. Their plan is, apparently, to redevelop the site into housing and shopping–it’s right across the street from a BART station, so (assuming BART recovers from the COVID-19 transit slump) access is easy from anywhere in the Bay Area. There’s a lot of money to be made off that space.

Don’t be surprised if the As threaten to leave town if Oakland doesn’t sell to them (or a third party they’re confident they can work with). After all, they’re going to need that income to pay for the new ballpark.

Naturally, they’d never threaten to leave town if Oakland doesn’t kick in substantial money toward stadium construction. Significantly more than the ballclub is likely to pay for the Coliseum site.

The threat is as inevitable as it is depressing. We’ve seen it over and over again, every time a team in any sport wants a new home.

But to be fair, what other leverage does a sports team have? Fans will come out to see a losing team almost as readily as they will a winner, so threatening to tank (unofficially, of course, as saying it in so many words would get the team sanctioned by their league) wouldn’t accomplish anything. “Help pay for the new stadium or we’ll stay in the old one,” is no threat at all.

And it’s certainly a stronger threat for Oakland than it was in most of the occasions it’s been trotted out since the Sixties. After all, the Raiders are in Vegas now, and the Warriors are in San Francisco. If Oakland lost the As too, that’s one heck of a lot of tax money vanishing from the civic coffers.

So get ready to hear “we’re exploring our options” over and over and over for the next few years.

4 thoughts on “Saw That Coming

  1. What other options? Well, at risk of sounding ridiculous, the owners of a popular ball club, and a serviceable ball park could just say, “We’ve got a good thing here, that will generate a nice profit year after year, for as long as people like baseball. Why mess with a good thing?”
    In other words, stop being so fecking greedy and be happy with what you’ve got. The Money People don’t care about the game of Baseball, except to the extent that it generates ever increasing profits for them. They’ll mess with the rules because they’ve been told that the “younger demographic” wants more action (obvious, visible action; read “home runs”) and shorter games, and they’ll do anything else they need to, to boost that income.
    As you say, the sport doesn’t matter. If the Golden Goose doesn’t lay enough eggs, kill the goose and move on- or demand that the taxpayers give you a new goose. Maybe two. Why not? Sheesh.


    • Point. I suppose I should have said “What other options do they have if they’re going to continue to soak the current locality?”

      Just remember that this is the century of Big Business and it’s unamurrican to question a large corporate entity’s right to make unlimited quantities of money.


    • Only if you’re trying to go in a direction other than “to the ballpark”. After all, the team doesn’t make any money on parking, gondola rides, and beer sales until you get there.


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